Already, more people have returned ballots than were cast in the last California recall election in 2003.
More than nine million votes have already been received in the California recall election, suggesting a relatively high turnout that is not reminiscent of a low-wattage special election but of a high-profile midterm.
These nine million votes would probably account for most of the ballots cast in the election. They were heavily cast by mail or through early in-person voting. And they paint an emerging picture of a voter who is slightly older, whiter and more educated than those who currently returned ballots in last November’s presidential election.
Overall, registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a 25-point margin of 51 to 26 percent in ballots filed so far, according to data from Political Data, a California-based data vendor. That Democratic gain is roughly the same as the 50 percent to 25 percent increase that California Democrats had achieved among ballots returned by this point in 2020.
As in last November’s election, registered Democrats have been slightly more likely to cast ballots in advance than Republicans, possibly reflecting Democratic enthusiasm for mail voting during the pandemic – or Republican skepticism of mail voting during the Trump era.
President Biden won California by 29 percentage points.
Despite the similar partisan makeup of the advance vote, the state has received fewer ballots in the general election than at this point, when 13 million ballots had already been returned to election officials.
Overall, 16 percent of returnees are from 18- to 34-year-old voters and 18 percent are considered Latino based on their surname or neighborhood. At this point in 2020, 21 percent were aged 18 to 34 and 21 percent were Latino.
Generally speaking, young and Latino voters are likely to vote closer to the election and will likely represent a larger share of all voters than they did in 2020.
Still, apart from the 2020 election, recall turnout appears to exceed almost any other benchmark. Already, more people have returned ballots than were cast in the last California recall election in 2003, when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. This is more than the total turnout in the 2014 mid-term elections.
Relatively high and Democratic turnout so far has further narrowed the already difficult path for Mr Newsom to recall. The prospect that Republicans could benefit from an unusual voting advantage was considered one of the possible ways that a recall effort in an overwhelmingly Democratic state could be successful.