Kern County elections officials released the results from 17,447 freshly counted ballots Monday afternoon, solidifying the results of some races but leaving others up in the air.

Around 5,548 ballots remained to be counted across the entire county.

For candidates in close races, their families and their supporters, the wait has been nerve-wracking. They're hungry for new information.

Bakersfield Mayor-elect Karen Goh has refused to claim victory over rival Kyle Carter until all the ballots are counted. A Californian analysis shows she has won the seat.

Monday's release cast that result in concrete. Goh now holds a 5,725-vote lead over former homebuilder Carter - more votes than Kern County has left to count.

Other races are much closer.

In Shafter, longtime City Councilwoman and Mayor Fran Florez, the mother of former California state Sen. Dean Florez, trails Chad Givens by 50 votes and could lose her seat on the council.

In Tehachapi, Mayor Pro-Tem Kim Nixon is trailing challenger Ken Hetge by 76 votes.

On Nov. 15, the day after the Kern County Elections Division released its first results since 4 a.m. on Nov. 9, Kern County Supervisor Zack Scrivener questioned why updates hadn't come sooner.

Kern County Auditor-Controller Mary Bedard, who oversees the elections division, explained that under new laws, vote-by-mail ballots mailed by election night were required to be accepted and counted through Nov. 14.

But other counties, Scrivner said, were doing updates.

Bedard said Kern County is focused on moving through the process. Getting larger numbers of smaller updates, she said, isn't going to help people in close races.

But Scrivner said they like to watch the voting trends and he liked the way things went in past years where more updates would "trickle in."

Kern County elections chief Karen Rhea said Monday her focus is on getting all the ballots counted as quickly and accurately as possible.

"We take the time it takes to get it right," she said.

She said the process of doing a count, large or small, actually slows down the whole process because the machinery of the elections office shuts down while the count runs. That can extend the time in which the work gets done, Rhea said.

"Every time (we) do a count I'm pulling everyone off of processing provisionals and moving forward. The more I stop the longer it takes," she said.

For many of the closest races, the results won't be conclusive until the process of counting is complete, Rhea said. Slowing down that final release date doesn't help anyone.

And Kern County is far from the slowest county this election season, where record numbers of ballots were cast.

Data released Monday by the California Secretary of State's office show that the state's vote-counting process is far from over.

According to the report, 2.2 million votes remain to be counted.

A number of counties, including Madera, Yolo, Nevada, Mendocino and Merced, haven't updated since Election Day or the morning after.

And even some counties that have recently released updates have large numbers of outstanding ballots to count.

San Diego County still has 273,600 votes to count, even though it last released numbers on Sunday.

Los Angeles County, which released results on Friday, still has 761,963 votes to count.

Rhea said her staffers are giving it their all.

The last time most of the staff in the Kern County elections office had a day off was Oct. 23. They've worked seven days a week, often 12 hours a day, to report the outcome of the election, Rhea said.

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