By David Dayen, The American Prospect

Last week, elections were held in California, and media desks were ready. They had a district attorney subject to recall in San Francisco, and a high-profile mayor’s race in Los Angeles turning on the subjects of homelessness and crime. If both races broke right, they could bundle Chesa Boudin’s downfall and Rick Caruso’s triumph and pull off the Holy Grail of political reporting: the election trend piece.

That piece was written, and replicated. “Progressive Backlash in California Fuels Democratic Debate Over Crime,” The New York Times warned. The reckoning was here. Progressive calls to defund and rethink policing were being punished in some of the most left-leaning cities on the West Coast.

But then they kept counting the votes.

Ballot box with CA state flag on background

East Coast media once again neglected an enduring fact about California elections: Votes are counted slowly and deliberately. All state voters receive ballots via mail, and mail ballots can come into registrar offices up to a week later and still be counted, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. Hundreds of thousands of votes have been and will be counted after the Times and others wrote their trend pieces. And in just the first week, several outcomes have materially changed.

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