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What time will we know the results of the 2021 California Recall Election?

With so many mail-in ballots being used to cast votes in the California recall, the final results may not be made public until days after the election.

With so many mail-in ballots being used to cast votes in the California recall, the final results may not be made public until days after the election.

In California, counties have significant discretion in how they tabulate votes and releasing results during elections.

This gubernatorial recall election of Gavin Newsom is the fourth to occur in US history and the second to occur in the last twenty years in California. As the historic election wraps up tomorrow, 14 September, many begin to wonder when the results will become available.

On 12 September, the California Secretary of State, the agency tasked with overseeing elections, released data on how many mail-in ballots had been collected. The state reported that it has sent out more than 22 million ballots, and so far, around 36 percent of 8.2 million have been received.

Election Result Timeline

SFGATE, a Bay Area-based media outlet, took a look at when the twelve most populous counties in the state plan to began releasing their election results.

Some counties were able to provide much more information than others.

Read more on the Recall Election

San Fransisco, for example, has preemptively released an election results reporting schedule. In it, the County states that it will “release the first preliminary summary report of election results at approximately 8:45 p.m. This report will provide the results from the vote-by-mail ballots that the Department received and processed before Election Day.”

Orange County plans to take a different approach and will "issue an update every 30 minutes "through the evening until all votes have been counted.”"

However, some counties like Santa Clara have not been as forthcoming on their result schedule, saying that they are “unsure how long it will take to count all ballots once polls close, citing the fact that officials are not sure of when individuals will return their ballots.”

Mail-in Ballots

Most counties, including Los Angles, San Diego, and Orange, have already begun tabulating mail-in ballots, which will be the first results to be released on Tuesday.

Los Angles expects to release the first set of results shortly after the polls close at 8:00 p.m.

Fresno officials stated that they are expecting to receive 40 percent of the mail-in ballots by election day. They hope to tabulate 60 percent of those ballots and release the results periodically thereafter on the 14th.

Early Voting

In most cases, the early voting ballots will be released in the second round of results. San Diego and San Bernadino County confirmed that most of these votes would be released on election night.

Kern County began processing early voting ballots on 23 August and also plans to release the results on Election Night. A Kern County official told SFGATE that they expect between 36% and 43% of the total vote being counted after Election Day,” meaning that the election may not be called until the 15th or 16th.

Election Day Voting

Votes from Election Day will take more time to tabulate, and most countries have stated that they will be the last results to be released.

While the first two sets of votes may lean more Democratic, many experts expect more Republicans to turn out in person on Election Day, as they did in the 2020 General Election.


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