When will we know the California recall election results?
Californians have been voting early in the election for weeks to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.
But it is not clear how long it will take to get a definitive answer on whether he will stay at his job.
Election experts say the math could be clear within hours after voting closes at 8 p.m. Pacific time, depending on the number of early ballots and the volume of in-person voting on Tuesday. But if the race is harder than expected, weeks could go by as the countdown.
Remembrance efforts are a fact of political life for California governors. But they don’t usually make it to the ballot, and Californians have only gone to the polls once to determine whether the state’s top officeholder should be removed. That was in 2003, when Governor Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since then, the state’s voting rules and voter turnout have changed substantially.
Due to security concerns arising from the coronavirus pandemic, ballots were sent early in the 2020 election to all 22 million or more registered and active voters in the state. Voters can return their completed ballots by mail, deposit them in a secure drop box, vote in person, or vote at the polling place on Tuesday.
About 40 percent of registered voters have already cast their vote, but many Republicans have indicated they plan to vote in person, without evidence – a concern that elections in a Democrat-dominated state will hold. Officials will tamper with their ballot papers. Studies after the 2020 election found that the system worked smoothly, without any systemic voter fraud.
Early Democratic ballots outnumber Republicans two to one, with an overwhelming majority of voters from both parties telling voters they plan to vote along party lines. Mr Newsom is a Democrat, as is about 46 percent of the electorate.
But that gap is expected to tighten as Republican voters – who represent less than a quarter of registered voters – head to the polls.
Counting of votes in California is extremely slow because the state is so vast. The law for this election allows county officials to open and process ballots early, but those results cannot be shared with the public until the elections are closed, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office. spokeswoman Jenna Dresner said.
There are 58 counties in California, and each processes their ballots differently. Results often come later in larger counties such as Los Angeles County. Officials have 30 days to complete their official campaign and must post-mark vote-by-mail ballots on Election Day in the following week. The certified count is not expected until October 22.
In some key areas, such as the Bay Area and Orange County, critical partial counts should be available within hours of voting close. And the electoral math in California should provide some strong clues about the outcome, said Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc., a nonpartisan supplier of electoral data.
Because so many voters are Democrats, he said, the higher the turnout, the better the chances of Mr Newsom beat the recall. If the overall turnout reaches 60 percent, he said, Mr Newsom’s proposed removal is almost mathematically impossible.
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