California Headed for Historic Voter Turnout

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As Election Day approaches ever closer, approximately 51 percent of California’s electorate, or 11.2  million voters, have already cast their ballots — more than double the number a week ago.

As more in-person polling places open, experts say the state is on track to have more votes cast than ever before. One reason is that the state has seen a large increase in voter registration from the 2016 election.

California has over 21 million registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s 60-day election report, compared to just over 18 million people four years ago. But even adjusting for the increase in registered voters, this election is seeing a surge in voting over 2016.

“We’re going to shatter the total vote record – period,” said Paul Mitchell, Vice President of Political Data, Inc.

Of the 11.2 million ballots returned so far (as of Nov. 1), 5.8 million have been from Democrats, 2.7 million from Republicans, and 2.7 million from Independents and third party voters.

According to the California Secretary of State Office, a bit more than 47,000 Humboldt County voters had returned their vote-by-mail ballots as Nov. 1, or around 55 percent of the just more than 86,000 who received one. Of those, 99.45 percent have been accepted, the state reports.

(For more information on voting in Humboldt County, including where to find a drop box or vote center, click here. Want to check the status of your ballot? Click
here. )
Drop Box and Voter Assistance Centers It’s important to note that the statistics on ballot returns are based on voter registration alone, and don’t actually signify how the vote itself is trending. Election results likely won’t be known until days or weeks after election night, according to the Secretary of State’s office.

In addition to a strong partisan split of early vote totals, the age of voters accounts for another disparity. Voters between 18 and 34 currently have the lowest turnout rate (36 percent), while voters 65 and over have the highest (70 percent).

As of Nov. 1, 98.96 percent of returned ballots had been accepted by county officials.

At this point, officials say, don’t mail your ballot. With only one day to go until Election Day, voters should visit a drop box or vote in person.

Zachary Fletcher is a reporter at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. This coverage is made possible through Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. In California, CalMatters is hosting the collaboration with the Fresno Bee, the Long Beach Post and the UC Graduate School of Journalism.

North Coast Journal digital editor Kimberly Wear contributed to this report.

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