California election day 2020: The vote is in

By CAL Matters Staff,
CAL Matters,
November 4, 2020


Today’s the day, and CalMatters has a contingent of Votebeat reporters deployed around the state to bring you round-the-clock coverage of the 2020 Election. More than 11.2 million Californians voted early. Everyone else will cast their ballots in person today and we will be watching how that works, from the count, to any voting interference, to hiccups with poll equipment. Check back often as we update our live coverage.

Starting at 8 p.m. Pacific time, check out our live results tracker — it may have the potential to either raise or lower your blood pressure.

Nearing midnight, loads of ballots are still arriving to be counted at Los Angeles County’s Tally Operation Center.

The Tally Operation Center has been receiving ballots via choppers every 15 minutes. Boxes of ballots are being handled by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and deputy helicopters. 

A county official said the latest arrivals are coming from the farthest parts of the county, such as Lancaster and Catalina vote centers. 

Once at the tally center, where all county ballots are counted, they will be processed by staff.

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This afternoon, election integrity expert Kim Alexander drove to her local mailbox in Sacramento to observe the mail pickup.

But Alexander had already missed the pickup, and she’s worried voters could too. If you still have your ballot today, you should take it to a vote center or deposit it in a drop box instead of mailing it to ensure it meets the deadline to be counted, she said. 

Placing your ballot in a mailbox after the U.S. Postal Service has already emptied the box for today will mean your ballot won’t be postmarked until tomorrow, which will render it invalid. 

“It’s counterintuitive because we call them ‘vote by mail’ ballots, but today is not the day to mail them,” Alexander said.

A recent study by her organization, the California Voter Foundation, found that a common reason for vote-by-mail ballots to be rejected is that they’ve been mailed too late. 

Even ballots mailed on Election Day can be late. In fact, the study found that most of the ballots rejected for late postmarks appeared to  have been put in the mail that day, Alexander said. 

Young voters who are less familiar with using the postal system are at particular risk of mailing their ballots late, she said.

Under California law, ballots must be postmarked by the last day of voting or hand-delivered by 8 p.m. 

If you must rely on mailing today, take your ballot to the post office counter and ask the attendant to postmark and hand-cancel, or stamp, your envelope, Alexander says. The hand-cancel provides extra proof the ballot was mailed on time. (Full Story)