It is still not completely clear which party won control of the House of Representatives three days after the midterm election on Nov. 8, and it might still take weeks to find out for sure.
House Republicans continue to operate under the assumption that they won a majority. But that majority will likely be slim, and slow vote counts in California, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon make it impossible to declare any result with certainty.
According to the Fox News Decision Desk, Republicans had secured 211 House seats as of Friday morning, seven short of the 218 they need for a majority. Republicans are currently leading in enough outstanding House races to reach that goal.
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The biggest factor standing in the way of a clear result is the slow count in California, where more than a dozen House races have yet to be called. The final results in California could make or break the GOP takeover in the House – Republicans hold narrow leads in several of those races, but many of them have still tabulated fewer than 50% of the votes that have come in.
According to a count provided late Thursday, more than 4.8 million ballots had yet to be processed. California’s Secretary of State Shirley Weber says it could still be weeks before it becomes clear who wins these races.
“It typically takes weeks for counties to process and count all of the ballots,” Weber’s office says on its website. “Elections officials have approximately one month to complete their extensive tallying, auditing, and certification work (known as the official canvass).”
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Under California law, mail-in ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day, but can still be received by county election officials up to seven days after the election and still be counted.
California state law says election officials must report their final results to Weber by Dec. 9.
In Arizona, there are still two House races that have yet to be called, and a Republican is leading in one of them. However, just like California, Arizona still has many votes to count.
According to Arizona’s Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who is running for governor, more than 2 million ballots have been tabulated so far, but more than 500,000 remain.
“Elections don’t end on Election Day,” Hobb’s website states. “It takes time to ensure all eligible votes are counted.”
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In Colorado, the results in two House races are not yet clear, including GOP incumbent Lauren Boebert’s close race against Democratic challenger Adam Frisch. As of Friday morning, Boebert was up a little more than 1,000 votes.
According to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, every county in the state is still in a post-election reporting phase of the election as of Friday morning, and none had completed a final counting of ballots. It might still be some days before final results can be seen in this state.
Finally, in Oregon, the fate of two close House races remains unclear, in part because that state will continue to count ballots by mail until Nov. 15. Under that state’s law, voters can file complaints about alleged election law violations as late as Nov. 21, and the very last day to resolve all ballot challenges is Nov. 29.
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Aside from these four states, a small handful of other close House races are being delayed for various reasons, including waiting for mail-in ballot and absentee vote counts.