Californians have been voting early for weeks in elections to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. But it’s unclear how long it will take to get a definitive answer as to whether he will keep his job.
Depending on the number of early polls and the number of in-person votes on Tuesday, the calculations could be clear a few hours after the polls close at 8 p.m. PT, according to election experts. But if the race is tighter than expected, weeks could go by as the count drags on.
Recall attempts are part of the political life of California governors. But they usually don’t appear on the ballot, and Californians have only gone to the polls once to determine whether the state’s top official should be ousted. It was in 2003, when Governor Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since then, the state’s voting rules and electorate have changed dramatically.
Due to security concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, ballots were sent out early to all of the state’s approximately 22 million registered and active voters in the 2020 election. Voters can return their votes. completed ballots in the mail, deposit them in secure drop boxes, vote early in person or vote at a polling station on Tuesday.
Nearly 40% of registered voters have already voted, but many Republicans have indicated that they plan to vote in person, citing – without evidence – fears that election officials in the Democratic-dominated state could tamper with their ballots. vote. Studies after the 2020 election found that the system operated smoothly, without systemic voter fraud.
The first Democratic polls are twice as numerous as those of Republicans, with an overwhelming majority of voters from both parties telling pollsters they plan to vote along party lines. Mr. Newsom is a Democrat, as are about 46% of the electorate.
But that margin is expected to narrow as Republican voters – who make up less than a quarter of registered voters – go to the polls.
The vote count is notoriously slow in California because the state is so massive. The law for this election allows county officials to open and process the first ballots as they arrive, but those results cannot be shared with the public until the polls close, said Jenna Dresner, spokesperson for the California Secretary of State’s office.
California has 58 counties and each treats their ballots differently. Results often come later in larger counties, such as Los Angeles County. Officials have 30 days to complete their official canvassing and must hand in stamped mail-in ballots on polling day one week before arriving. The certified statement is not expected before October 22.
Large partial counts are expected to be available within hours of the close of polling stations in some key areas, such as the Bay Area and Orange County. And election calculations in California should offer solid clues to the outcome, said Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc., a non-partisan election data provider.
Because so many voters are Democrats, he said, the higher the turnout, the better Mr. Newsom’s chances of beating the recall. If the overall turnout reaches 60%, he said, Mr Newsom’s proposed ouster is almost mathematically impossible.