If there’s one thing we can know for sure today, it‘s that many Californians – millions and millions, more than the populations of many states – voted. (Also, that Joseph R. Biden Jr. won the state easily.)
About 13.4 million votes had already been cast, Paul Mitchell, vice president of bipartisan data firm Political Data Inc., told me early Tuesday night, “and that doesn’t count a lot of ballots coming in. this moment.
[Find results for all the California races.]
“The gross turnout is going to exceed anything the state has ever seen,” he said.
Yet you may not have known that California was in the midst of a democratic deluge at the sight of the polling centers on Election Day.
Mr Mitchell said the final vote count is projected to be between 16 and 17 million votes, with around two million in-person votes at the polls.
While there have been reports of long queues in the Sacramento area and Riverside County, the mood at the polls seemed to range largely from serene to festive.
Voters across the state searched for memorable places to play their part in democracy, from Dodger Stadium to a famous San Francisco leather bar – a stark contrast to the March primaries, when hours of waiting await. frustrated voters, especially in the state’s most populous county, Los Angeles.
In Oakland, voters voted outdoors with a beautiful view of Lake Merritt. The workers used pliers to pick up voters’ ballots in their cars.
“We get a lot of jokes, like, ‘Can I have a rib with this? ”, Said an election worker to my colleague Thomas Fuller.
At Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles, where the Los Angeles Lakers sponsored a voting center, my colleague Tim Arango reported that voters saw Tuesday as a day of hope.
[Here’s background about key races in California.]
I decided to head to Porter Ranch in the San Fernando Valley, where I visited the voting centers of a charter elementary school nestled among winding blocks of ranch houses framed by golden hills, and in a large parish hall near a sprawl of upscale shopping centers.
It was a calm day, and election officials at both sites said they saw a steady stream of voters depositing or voting over the course of several days. Some voters had taken advantage of the same state day registration process.
Election officials said they encountered virtually no problems with voters wearing masks or following other rules.
I thought I would be able to catch voters with strong preferences for one of the candidates for the state’s 25th Congressional District seat, Democratic State Assembly Member Christy Smith or the President outgoing Republican Mike Garcia, who, early Wednesday morning, was still locked in a very close battle.
But voters I spoke to said they were more focused on the top of the ticket, despite Mr. Biden’s victory in California being essentially inevitable.
They said they were looking to trusted organizations – one voter I spoke to cited the California GOP and another mentioned the progressive organization KNOCK.LA – for advice on voting proposals. .
If they didn’t skip local races entirely, they said they were following party affiliation.
“I didn’t vote in 2016,” Parvin Moosavi, 56, told me as she stood outside Castlebay Lane Charter Primary School. “But I think everyone should vote to kick him out.”
She was referring to President Trump.
Ms Moosavi said she had backed Sen. Bernie Sanders before and while disappointed that he was not the Democratic nominee, she was convinced Mr Biden could help restore the middle class and gain more control the pandemic.
A health care worker, Ms Moosavi said she had lived in the United States for decades after leaving Iran. But she has family in Europe and if the president were re-elected she would move there.
Outside a polling center at nearby InChrist Community Church, Irwin Lehrhoff, 91, told me that in 2016 he voted for president in hopes of seeing “a businessman, not a politician ”at the White House. On Tuesday, however, he voted for Mr. Biden.
“It was just too many lies about Covid,” he says. “You can’t have a president you can’t trust.”
On the remainder of his ballot, Mr. Lehrhoff, a resident of Porter Ranch, said he was “pretty much following the Republican Party.”
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Votes are still counted in California, and will be for days. But with about 73% of the votes reported, some of the races were called, according to the Times tracker.
As with other states, Mitchell said mailed votes tended to skew Democrats, while in-person voters were more likely to be Republicans. But, as we’ve mentioned, many of the biggest debates the state has faced do not divide along clear partisan lines.
Here is where it stands:
Proposition 17, aimed at restoring the right to vote of those on parole for felony convictions, past.
Proposition 20, an effort to crack down on certain types of crime and roll back certain sentencing reforms, failed.
Proposition 21, which would have broadened the capacity of local governments to institute rent control, failed.
Proposition 22, the astronomically costly effort of companies in concert to evade new labor laws that would require them to treat workers as employees, past.
Proposition 23, an effort to demand more monitoring of dialysis clinics, failed.
The rest, including some key voting issues and crucial House races, were still too close to be called. We will know more about the significance of the results soon.
In other electoral news:
President Trump brazenly and falsely declared that he won the election. But the ballots are still counted and compiled. here is a guide to what we can safely say we know and guide hour by hour to know when. [The New York Times]
And what would happen if the election results were challenged? The process of deciding on the presidential race has never been straightforward, but this year it is particularly unlikely to go smoothly. Here’s what to expect. [The New York Times]
If you voted in California, you have an “I voted” sticker. But listen, you might want another one. You probably want another one. My colleagues have created digital stickers that you can download. So have another sticker.
California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley, and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.