Democrats see early advantage in returned ballots
Tuesday may be Election Day in California, but voters in the Golden State have already been casting their ballots for weeks.
Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, ballots were mailed to all of California’s active voters ahead of the recall. Many of those ballots have trickled into election offices in recent weeks, and some are arriving as late as today. Many Californians have also chosen to vote in person.
The mail-in ballots received ahead of Election Day skew heavily Democratic, and they’ll be among the first to appear in the vote count. That means early results could show an overwhelming rejection of the recall.
As Ryan Matsumoto, a contributing analyst for Inside Elections, notes, Democrats’ early vote advantage in the recall appears even bigger than their advantage in the 2020 presidential election.
California Returned Ballots Update:
11/3/20 – 49.86% D / 25.05% R / 25.09% I
9/14/21 – 51.43% D / 25.84% R / 22.73% I
A party registration shift from D+24.81% to D+25.59%.
Looks like the early vote is even stronger for Democrats than it was in 2020.
— Ryan Matsumoto (@ryanmatsumoto1) September 14, 2021
The next batch of ballots to be counted will be those cast on Election Day. Those votes are expected to be more Republican, and could show the recall narrowing a bit.
California voters have until Tuesday, however, to have their mail-in ballots postmarked. Those ballots will be received later on and eventually counted, though that could take some time.
Voters head to polls
7:42 p.m. ET
Californians are readying a verdict on Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomBiden stumps for Newsom on eve of recall: ‘The eyes of the nation are on California’ Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda California wildfire forces more evacuations as Biden prepares to visit state MORE (D) with a vote that will determine whether he’ll get to keep his job.
The recall election is being conducted mostly by mail, but that didn’t stop many Californians from voting in person on Tuesday. Polls are set to close at 8 p.m. PT, or 11 p.m. ET.
There are two questions on the ballot: whether Newsom should be recalled and, if so, who should replace him. There are 46 candidates vying to become the next governor should Newsom lose his job, but conservative radio host Larry Elder has emerged as the clear front-runner in that race.
Still, Newsom appears more likely to keep his job than not. Recent polling shows most Californians rejecting the recall effort, and early turnout numbers lean heavily Democratic.
That’s not to say Newsom’s fate is secure. Polling in the last California recall election in 2003 that saw the ouster of former Gov. Gray Davis (D) was off by several points. Heading into Tuesday, however, Newsom’s lead appeared large enough to weather a major polling error.
The recall also has major national political undertones. Newsom and his allies have sought to cast the election as an attempted power grab by Republicans, warning that a successful recall would amount to a victory for former President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden stumps for Newsom on eve of recall: ‘The eyes of the nation are on California’ On The Money: House Democrats cut back Biden tax hikes Abortion providers warn of ‘chaos’ if Supreme Court overrules Roe v Wade MORE.
Newsom has also brought in a handful of high-profile national Democrats to campaign for him in recent weeks, including most recently President BidenJoe BidenBiden stumps for Newsom on eve of recall: ‘The eyes of the nation are on California’ Biden looks to climate to sell economic agenda Family of American held hostage by Taliban urges administration to fire Afghanistan peace negotiator MORE, who stumped for Newsom on Monday.
Meanwhile, Trump and Elder have raised false allegations of fraud and malfeasance in the recall election, echoing the former president’s baseless claims about the 2020 election.