By MICHAEL R. BLOOD and STEPHEN OHLEMACHER
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) - A combination of recent changes in California's election rules have lengthened the ballot-counting process and, some Republicans believe, disadvantaged their party.

A stunning 5 million ballots - more than 40 percent of the overall total - were counted after Nov. 6. In many places, Democrats got a significantly larger portion of the late votes than those counted on Election Day.

Those later votes helped Democrats capture a string of GOP-held U.S. House seats.

The Democratic legislature approved changes allowing any mail-in ballot postmarked by Election Day to be counted up to three business days later.

Another provision allows voters to let anyone drop off their absentee ballots, rather than a family member as previously required. That has opened the door to so-called "ballot harvesting" by campaign operatives.

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