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Tight Sheriff's race in Monterey County could be decided by mail-in ballots

Monterey County Sheriff's Department

A close race for Sheriff-Coroner in Monterey County was still considered too close to call Wednesday night as nearly 34,000 ballots were left to be counted—about 45 percent of the total votes cast in Tuesday's election.

The incumbent, Sheriff Scott Miller, was trailing Deputy Steve Bernal 51.4 to 48.6 percent in the numbers released by the County Clerk-Recorder Wednesday at 1:04 a.m. 

The remaining votes that still need to be processed and added to the totals consist of vote-by-mail (absentee), provisional, and other ballots that have some need for review.

Salinas Californian Reporter Allison Gatlin says this race will be decided based on the geography of the mail-in ballots. 

Monterey County Sheriff-Coroner candidate Steve Bernal

"Bernal has a lot of strength in South County just because he has a lot of money funneling in from agribusiness," said Gatlin. "Miller lives on the Peninsula and he spent six years as the Pacific Grove Police Chief, so he's got over on the Monterey Bay."

The Clerk-Recorder says the office will update the numbers this Friday at 5:00 p.m.