After weeks of campaigning and millions of dollars in advertising, the recall election is almost over.
How is tonight likely to unfold? And when will we know a firm result?
Here is a timeline to consider:
Closure of polling stations is planned across the state. So what ? County registrars have already processed – but not counted – the roughly 9 million ballots cast before today. As soon as the polling stations close, they will begin to compile these ballots.
Around 9 p.m..
About an hour after the polls close, most counties expect to start publishing these first results. We don’t yet know how many people voted on election day, but political analysts were expecting a total of just over 13 million votes cast. If so, these early polls would represent nearly 70% of the total turnout. With this large chunk of the vote set to be released shortly after the polls close, we’ll likely have a pretty good idea of how the election is going – with one exception.
Early voting will almost certainly lean heavily on the Democratic side. Many Republicans, influenced by former President Trump’s attacks on postal voting, have said they plan to vote in person on election day. For the recall to be a success, it will take a massive election day vote to overcome the lead Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to secure in the early poll.
Processing and counting these votes on election day will take a few hours. In Los Angeles County, for example, sheriff’s assistants go to every polling station, collect the ballots, and bring them, sometimes by helicopter, to the registrar’s office in Norwalk to be counted.
Around 11 p.m.
Counties will begin declaring votes on election day.
This is the last day for today’s canceled ballots to arrive at polling stations to be counted. So if tonight’s vote is really close, it might take some time before we know the outcome. Polls strongly suggest the vote won’t be that close, but in a few hours those pre-election polls won’t matter.
Times Sacramento bureau chief John Myers offers five things to look for on election night. Among them, Democratic participation and the number of voters who actually choose a replacement for Newsom.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.