What the recall means for the future of mail-in voting.

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More than a third of California’s active registered voters cast their ballots in the recalled election Saturday, several days before voting closed.

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Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc., a supplier of Sacramento-based electoral data, said it hints at a fundamental shift not only in how Californians are casting their ballots, but also when they are doing so.

“There will come a day when there will be no maximum turnout on election day,” he said.

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It may not have been an election for which ballots were mailed to all of the state’s nearly 22 million active registered voters. But trends suggest that the proportion of ballots cast on Tuesday, the last day of nearly a month of voting, will be much lower than before, Mr Mitchell said.

“If only 15 to 20 percent of people voted from last Monday to Tuesday, that’s insane,” he said.

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Throughout the campaign, experts have said Governor Gavin Newsom’s effort to lead the nation’s most populous state will depend on whether California’s vast Democratic base will be enough numbers to counter enthusiasm among Republicans. will appear in Polling has consistently shown that acceptance of Mr Newsom’s performance is largely divided along party lines.

As of Wednesday, Political Data Inc. election tracker showed they have so far: 34 percent of registered Democrats who received ballots and 30 percent of registered Republicans returned them, meaning more than twice as many Democratic ballots have been cast.

Of course, this does not include ballots that are in the mail, or voters who are waiting to vote in person over the next several days.

But Mr Michel said the early votes also came largely from older voters. Nearly half of voters age 65 and older have returned their ballots, compared to 23 percent of voters 35 to 49 and 16 percent of voters 18 to 34.

Historically, he said, early voting and mail voting was dominated by older, white Republicans. But that flipped in 2020 as misinformation about ballot fraud took hold, and data from this election shows that early or mail voting continues among older Democrats.

Despite the number of early votes, both campaigns have accelerated the traditional schedule in the final week of the election.

“We still want that final closing message,” said Mr. Mitchell. “It’s this romantic idea of ​​a campaign arc that no longer exists.”

In this election, he said, last-ditch efforts may pay off by excluding young people and Latinos, whose votes may still be up for grabs.

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