By Emily Hoeven
Cast your vote today or forever hold your peace — well, at least until the next election.
Polls close at 8 p.m. tonight in California’s general election, but don’t expect to know the outcome of every race right away: Although ballots can be processed as early as seven days before Election Day, they can’t actually be counted until polls close. Meanwhile, mail-in ballots postmarked by today will be counted through Nov. 15. And more time is needed to process ballots cast by those who register to vote today.
- Secretary of State Shirley Weber said in a statement: “By law, county election officials have 30 days to count every valid ballot and conduct a post-election audit. … We have a process that by law ensures both voting rights and the integrity of elections, so I would call on all Californians to be patient.”
- Weber added: “This process includes the verification of signatures on every vote-by-mail ballot envelope, the processing of same-day voter registrations, the processing of provisional ballots, and reaching out to voters to provide opportunities for voters to cure missing or mismatched signatures.”
But while California’s final election results won’t be certified until mid-December, the outcome of most races — apart from particularly close ones — should be clear tonight, Weber said.
- Political consultant Michael Trujillo told the Los Angeles Times: “If your race is within 10 points at the end of election night, it’s probably premature to call it a win. If you’re up 20 (points), you’re probably safe.”
If you have yet to cast your ballot, make sure to check out CalMatters’ nonpartisan Voter Guide. And if you’re anxiously awaiting results, bookmark CalMatters’ election results tracker, which offers critical context and live results for top-line races, including governor, attorney general, U.S. senator, key seats in the state Legislature and U.S. House and the seven statewide propositions.
Election eve, meanwhile, was relatively calm across California.
CalMatters political reporter Sameea Kamal checked in with elections offices across the state and found that apart from rainy weather and some printer jams, operations were running smoothly.
The campaign front also seemed relatively conflict-free, as Vice President Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom headlined Monday get-out-the-vote events in Southern California and the California Republican Party held rallies in Orange and San Diego counties.
The largest day-before kerfuffle may have been over Proposition 30, a controversial ballot measure that would levy a new tax on millionaires to fund electric vehicle programs and hire more firefighters. The initiative has become infamous for its strange political bedfellows: It’s opposed by Newsom, the California Teachers Association and the California Republican Party, and supported by the California Democratic Party and prominent labor and environmental groups. Polls released last week show voters are split on the measure.
On Monday, the Yes on 30 campaign filed a complaint with the state’s campaign finance watchdog, alleging the No on 30 campaign “sent misleading texts on Sunday night to millions of voters” that claimed to be funded by the measure’s backers.
- Matt Rodriguez, manager for the No on 30 campaign, said a staffer “accidentally put Yes on 30” at the bottom of about 300,000 of the 2.5 million texts sent to voters over the weekend. It was “a mistake,” he told me. “There was no grand plan to put a ‘Yes’ in the disclaimer.”
This isn’t the first purported typo to cause problems between the two sides: The No on 30 campaign recently accused the proposition’s supporters of trying to hide the financial contributions of rideshare giant Lyft by listing “Lift” as its largest funder in a television ad.
- Steve Maviglio, a spokesperson for the Yes on 30 campaign, previously told CalMatters the misspelling was a “typo” that was “immediately corrected.”