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What to Know About Election Day 2022 in Southern California

What to Know

  • Election Day is Tuesday, when polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • All registered voters in California should have received a vote-by-mail ballot a few weeks ahead of Election Day.
  • There are several ways to cast ballots, including mail, dropboxes, vote center dropoff and voting in-person on Nov. 8.

Southern Californians holding firm to a sense of civic duty, and possibly umbrellas, will cast ballots in races for Los Angeles mayor, pivotal Congressional seats and seven statewide ballot measures Tuesday, the last day to vote in the 2022 General Election.

Voting has been underway for weeks in California, where every registered voter — more than 22 million people — is sent a ballot from their county elections office about a month before Election Day. More than 3.8 million of those vote-by-mail ballots have already been returned, whether by drop box, drop-off locations like vote centers or mail, according to the Secretary of State.

In Los Angeles County, the state’s most populous, more than 977,000 ballots had been cast as of Sunday. That’s about 17 percent of the county’s roughly 5.6 million registered voters.

Election Day marks an end to what could be called Election Season and comes five months after a June primary that set the stage for some high-stakes runoffs. California uses a top-two election format in which only the two leading vote-getters advance to the November general election, regardless of party.

Here’s what to know about Election Day in Southern California.

What time will polls close on Election Day?

Vote centers are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. If you’re in line by 8 p.m., you can vote.

If you are voting by mail, it must be postmarked on or before Election Day. When mailing your ballot there is no postage required.

If you return your ballot in person or via dropbox, it must be delivered no later than 8 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots can be returned to any polling place in the state or your county elections office. Visit your county elections site below for dropbox locations.

Note: An unregistered voter can show up at a polling place and register through 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Use the NBC News Plan Your Vote tool to find a polling place and more.

Click the county elections sites below for more details about vote center locations and other options to cast your ballot. 

How to Track Your Election Ballot in California

Voters should have received a ballot in the mail a few weeks ahead of the Nov. 8 Election Day. If you didn’t, or you want to know what happened to your ballot after returning it, California offers a ballot tracking system. Click here to track your ballot, find out whether you’re registered, locate a polling place and more.

How long will it take for votes to be counted?

In the 2020 General Election, the first results came in just after 8 p.m. with half of all precincts reporting by 12:30 a.m. local time. About 32% of the total vote count was not counted on election night. In the 2018 general election, 43.8% of the total vote count was not counted on election night.

So, it’s possible some races might not be decided until the next day — and even beyond. Tight races can shift, requiring days or weeks to determine a winner.

Keep in mind a vote count cannot be released until polls close on Election Day. Mail ballots that are received by county elections officials before Election Day are typically counted on Election Day, along with in-person votes. Many more mail ballots are dropped off at polling places, drop box locations, or arrive at county elections offices on Election Day. And, mail ballots can be received up to seven days after the election, if postmarked by Election Day.

Will it rain in LA on Election Day?

Yes. Tuesday marks the second of three straight days of rain in Southern California.Total rainfall could exceed 5 inches in some areas with strong wind gusts. Expect snow in the mountains.

Flash flooding and debris flows caused by excessive rainfall are possible in the recent burn areas in Los Angeles County. A flood watch also was issued in Orange County for the Santa Ana mountains and foothills and inland areas including Fullerton, Irvine, Mission Viejo, Garden Grove, Anaheim, Orange and Santa Ana.

What happens after Election Day?

Counting, counting and more counting.

There are nearly 22 million registered voters in California. More than 17.7 million ballots were cast in the 2020 General Election.

California does not have an automatic recount law, but a registered voter may request one in a statewide contest, but must pay for it. The governor can order a state-funded recount on statewide races or ballot measures under certain circumstances, like a race margin being less than 1,000 votes or .015% of all ballots cast.

The secretary of state must certify statewide results within 38 days of Election Day.

Karen Bass or Rick Caruso?

The once-crowded Los Angeles mayor’s race is a two-candidate battle between billionaire Rick Caruso and Democratic U.S. Rep. Karen Bass. Twelve candidates made the cut for the primary ballot.

Caruso built a fortune investing in high-end shopping centers and resorts. The Republican-turned-Democrat spent millions of that fortune with TV and online ads.

Bass, once considered a possible pick for Joe Biden’s running mate, has strong support from progressive Democrats. The mayor’s race is technically non-partisan.

Both have high-profile endorsements and support from Los Angeles celebrities. Lakers great Earvin “Magic” Johnson is backing Bass. Caruso has support from Snoop Dogg, South LA community organizer Sweet Alice Harris and actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Other city of Los Angeles races include controller, city attorney and City Council districts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15. Elections for Los Angeles City Council districts 1, 3, 7 and 9 include only two candidates and will be decided.

Will there be a new sheriff in town?

Voters also will decide whether Sheriff Alex Villanueva deserves another four-year term. He faced eight challengers in the primary, but Villanueva and retired Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna emerged as clear favorites and advanced to the General Election runoff.

Two of the county’s five Board of Supervisor seats also are on the ballot. Board members have clashed regularly with Villanueva during his tenure.

Governor, other California offices at stake

Democrats hold every statewide office in California and the party’s voters outnumber registered Republicans by nearly 2-to-1. Gov. Gavin Newsom fended off a recall effort last year and faced more than two dozen little-known challengers in the primary. California state senator Brian Dahle, who received 17% of the vote in the primary, is Newsom’s Republican challenger in the General Election.

Other state office races include lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state controller, treasurer, attorney general, insurance commissioner, member of state board of equalization and state superintendent of public instruction.

California races to watch in the battle for Congress

U.S. House and Senate races this fall could determine control of Congress, a prize in which some California candidates could have a say.

One race to watch in Southern California is in a Congressional district north of Los Angeles that has been a battleground during recent election cycles. Several Democrats are vying to unseat 25th District Rep. Mike Garcia, who advanced to the November runoff with Democratic challenger Christy Smith. In 2020, Garcia won a narrow victory in the Democratic-leaning district. The former Navy fighter pilot was endorsed by Donald Trump that year, then joined House Republicans who rejected electoral votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania and opposed Trump’s impeachment after the Capitol insurrection. The district includes part of the San Fernando Valley, a swath of the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita.

District 45 offers a race to watch in Orange County. Won by Michelle Steel in 2020, redistricting reshaped the contest. Steel’s home in Seal Beach was re-drawn into the same district as Rep. Katie Porter, and she elected to run the 45th District instead of 47th. She faces a challenge from Democrat Jay Chen.

As for Porter, she faces a challenge from Republican attorney Scott Baugh, a former state assemblyman and Orange County GOP chair.

And then there’s Bass’ seat in the House of Representatives. Seven primary candidates were competing to succeed her in Congressional District 37. State Sen. Sydney Kamlager has Bass’ backing. Councilwoman Jan Perry picked up an endorsement from Rep. Maxine Waters.

Voters to decide seven statewide ballot propositions

Californians will decide seven ballot propositions Nov. 8, a relatively short list for voters who are regularly asked to decide a raft of measures that cover a variety of subjects.

Prop 1: Abortion Rights in State Constitution
This ballot measure would amend the California Constitution to make reproductive freedom a fundamental right. California has some of the most robust protections in the country and already protects reproductive rights under privacy laws. This measure goes further by explicitly prohibiting the state from denying or interfering with reproductive freedom, including decisions about whether to have an abortion and choose or refuse contraceptives.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 1 means: The California Constitution would be changed to expressly include existing rights to reproductive freedom—such as the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion and use contraceptives.

What a “No” vote on Prop 1 means: The California Constitution would not be changed to expressly include existing rights to reproductive freedom. These rights, however, would continue to exist under other state law.

Prop 26: Tribal Casinos Sports Betting
There are two sports betting measures on the ballot. Prop 26 would allow in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and California’s four horse race tracks. Tribal casinos also could start offering roulette and dice games, including craps.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 26 means: Four racetracks could offer in-person sports betting. Racetracks would pay the state a share of sports bets made. Tribal casinos could offer in-person sports betting, roulette, and games played with dice (such as craps) if permitted by individual tribal gambling agreements with the state. Tribes would be required to support state sports betting regulatory costs at casinos. People and entities would have a new way to seek enforcement of certain state gambling laws.

What a “No” vote on Prop 26 means: Sports betting would continue to be illegal in California. Tribal casinos would continue to be unable to offer roulette and games played with dice. No changes would be made to the way state gambling laws are enforced.

Proposition 27: Allowing Online Sports Betting
This measure would ok licensed tribes and gaming companies to offer mobile and online sports betting in California. Gaming companies, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, would need to be affiliated with a tribe. Tribes and gambling companies would pay 10 percent of bets made every month to the state. Most of that money would be used to combat homelessness and help people with gambling addictions.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 27 means: Licensed tribes or gambling companies could offer online sports betting over the Internet and mobile devices to people 21 years of age and older on non-tribal lands in California. Those offering online sports betting would be required to pay the state a share of sports bets made. A new state unit would be created to regulate online sports betting. New ways to reduce illegal online sports betting would be available.

What a “No” vote on Prop 27 means: Sports betting would continue to be illegal in California. No changes would be made to the way state gambling laws are enforced.

Proposition 28: Funds for Arts and Music Education
This measure would provide funds for music and arts programs in all preschool and K-12 public schools, including charters. The bulk of the money would be used to hire teachers and staff.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 28 means: The state would provide additional funding specifically for arts education in public schools. This amount would be above the constitutionally required amount of funding for public schools and community colleges.

What a “No” vote on Prop 28 means: Funding for arts education in public schools would continue to depend on state and local budget decisions.

Proposition 29: New Rules for Dialysis Clinics
Prop 29 is the third dialysis clinic initiative to make the ballot in the last four years. Previous attempts to increase restrictions kidney dialysis centers failed in 2018 and 2020. This version would require clinics to have a physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant on site during treatment hours.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 29 means: Chronic dialysis clinics would be required to have a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on-site during all patient treatment hours.

What a “No” vote on Prop 29 means: Chronic dialysis clinics would not be required to have a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on-site during all patient treatment hours.

Proposition 30: Millionaires Tax for EVs
Californians making more than $2 million per year would face a 1.75-percent personal income tax increase per year under this measure. The tax dollars would help fund climate programs, creating a new stream of revenue for the subsidization of zero-emissions vehicles. About 80 percent of the money would establish rebates for zero-emission vehicle buyers and to build charging stations. A smaller portion of the tax money would be used to help hire and train firefighters.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 30 means: Taxpayers would pay an additional tax of 1.75 percent on personal income above $2 million annually. The revenue collected from this additional tax would support zero-emission vehicle programs and wildfire response and prevention activities.

What a “No” vote on Prop 30 means: No change would be made to taxes on personal income above $2 million annually.

Proposition 31: Uphold the Flavored Tobacco Ban
A ‘Yes’ vote on Prop 31 upholds a 2020 law that bans the sale of some flavored tobacco products. A ‘No’ vote overturns it. Flavored cigarettes, e-cigarettes, pods for vape pens, tank-based systems and chewing tobacco are all covered under the ban, proposed as a way of keeping flavored tobacco away from kids. That 2020 law hasn’t gone into effect because Prop 31 qualified for the California ballot.

What a “Yes” vote on Prop 31 means:  In-person stores and vending machines could not sell most flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers.

What a “No” vote on Prop 31 means: In-person stores and vending machines could continue to sell flavored tobacco products and tobacco product flavor enhancers, as allowed under other federal, state, and local rules.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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