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Nearly 50 percent LA voters turn out at polls

November 2, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
By closing time, nearly 50 percent of registered voters in Los Angeles County turned out at the polls.About half of all voters in California are expected to cast mail-in ballots, which could delay election results.

A record number of mail-in ballots were issued this year in L.A. County. According to L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan, over 1.1 million vote-by-mail ballots were issued. Statewide, more than 7.5 million absentee ballots were requested this year.

Thousands of those ballots arrived in the mail on Tuesday morning at the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder's Office in Norwalk, and they'll continue to flood in throughout the day. To be counted, all ballots must be in by the time polls close at 8 p.m.

"We expect vote-by-mail ballots to make up about a third of the turnout in this election," he said.

By the time polls closed, an estimated 49.31 percent of registered voters in L.A. County had cast ballots, and 24.05 percent of registered voters in Orange County had cast their ballots, according to Logan's office.

Logan said while many absentee ballots have been returned already, there are still a number of ballots out there.

The ballots returned on Election Day will not be counted by the time the polls close on Tuesday night, which means final results in close races could be delayed for days.

"Vote-by-mail ballots go through a lot of processing. We have to verify the signature on the envelope to make sure it is the voter who requested the ballot and that they are an eligible registered voter," Logan said.

Officials must also make sure that the voter didn't head to a poll and vote at a polling place.

"All the interest seems to have built as we've approached today, so I'm optimistic that we're going to have a pretty good turnout in L.A. County," Logan said.

In Encino, two of three precincts of one polling place were not ready to go at 7 a.m. because a worker was out sick. That left voters to cast provisional ballots, which also take additional processing to check voter registration and signatures.

In the last gubernatorial election the Los Angeles County voter turnout was 52 percent and the county clerk said that they think that number will go up in this election. The polls close at 8 p.m. in California and voters can drop off their mail-in ballot or vote in-person.

Poll Closing Times By State:

  • 4 p.m.- GA, IN, KY, SC, VT and VA
  • 4:30 p.m.- NC, OH, WV
  • 5:00 p.m.- AL, CT, DE, FL, IL, ME, MD, MA, MS, MO, NH, NJ, OK, PA, TN
  • 5:30 p.m.- AR
  • 6 p.m.- CO, KS, LA, MI, NE, NM, NY, ND, RI, SD, TX, WI, WY
  • 7 p.m.- IA, ID, MT, NV, UT
  • 8 p.m.- AZ, CA, OR, WA
  • 9 p.m.- AK, HI

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