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Politics

Returned Ballots Surpass 1 Million In San Diego One Day Ahead Of Election

Voters turn in ballots at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters in Kearny Mesa, Nov. 5, 2018.
Matt Hoffman/KPBS
Voters turn in ballots at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters in Kearny Mesa, Nov. 5, 2018.

More than 1 million ballots out of the 1.95 million sent to registered voters throughout San Diego have already been returned to the Registrar of Voters office just one day ahead of Election Day. That number could impact how quickly ballot tabulation goes this year.

Along with those mail-in ballots, around 55,000 people have already done in-person early voting at the Registrar of Voters Office or at the super poll sites.

Returned Ballots Surpass 1 Million In San Diego One Day Ahead Of Election
Listen to this story by Shalina Chatlani.

Usually on election night, ballots are counted as a percentage of all precincts reporting. This November, there are 572 precincts, which are consolidated from March due to the coronavirus pandemic. In March, there were 1,548 precincts.

Also this election, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters is not providing precincts reporting data but rather voter turnout, which is reflective of ballots cast among registered voters.

Each voter is assigned to a super poll location. These changes were made so that there are fewer, but larger polling sites to accommodate for social distancing required by COVID-19 guideline, Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said.

VIDEO: Over One Million Ballots Returned In San Diego One Day Ahead of Election

“So, election results are going to be different. Normally the first report out on election day shortly when polls close are all the mail ballots we were able to verify,” Vu said. “But because the polling locations are open three days before Election Day, we are going to be able to count and tabulate across those 235 sites,” he said.

That means the first set of election results revealed when the polls close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday will not just be those mail-in ballots but it will also be polling place ballots that were cast three days before the election.

But, those mail-in ballots are still allowed to be post-marked by election night and can get to the registrar’s office up to 17 days after the election.

“The other subsequent reports are going to be from all the other polling locations. There are most likely hundreds of thousands of mail ballots that are going to be dropped off at any of the 235 sites or at any 126 mail drop off locations,” he said.

There may still be some delays in certifying especially close races. The final count has to be done by Dec. 3. The expected turnout for this year’s election is between 80 to 85%. That’s about on par with the last presidential election.