Every registered California voter has received a ballot in their mailbox for the upcoming recall election that could help decide if Governor Gavin Newsom will keep his job.
As of September 13 more than 8 million ballots, about 38%, had been returned and accepted by mail. An additional 324,000 have been cast in-person for a total of nearly 40% returned.
The early voter turnout data is revealing some interesting potential storylines for the upcoming election.
County with the highest turnout (so far): Sierra County
While Sierra county has the second lowest number of ballots issued at just over 2,000, data through September 13 shows the county had the highest percentage of returned and accepted ballots by mail or in-person, about 62%, according to data from the California Secretary of State. The county had 2 ballots returned in-person according to the September 13 data.
Data through September 9 had Marin County with the highest percentage of returned and accepted ballots. The most recent update shows Sierra, Amador, Tuolumne and Plumas Counties surpassed Marin, which now has a return rate of about 55%.
Historically, Sierra County leans conservative. John Cox won the 2018 Governor's race in the county with 64% of the vote, and Donald Trump won the 2020 Presidential race in the county with about 59% of the vote. Of the counties with the most current top five ballot return rates, four of them lean conservative and one leans liberal.
County with the lowest turnout (so far): Imperial County
The county with the lowest return rate so far is Imperial County at just under 18% with no ballots returned in-person as of September 13. The county with the next lowest return rate at about 26% is Kern County.
Northern California slightly outpacing Southern California (so far)
Los Angeles may be the largest county in the state but it's on the lower end when it comes to return rate at just about 35%. Riverside and San Bernardino Counties sit close to 37% and 29% respectively. The Southern California county with the highest return rates is Orange County at around 45%.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, 8 of the 9 counties have a return rate over 45%, lead by Marin County.
Recall ballots returned by county
Click on a county for more information. Data is as of September 13.
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Polls are showing that Newsom might hang on to the Governorship. A recent SurveyUSA poll showed 54% of likely voters will choose to keep Newsom in office, while 41% are expected to vote to remove him.
However, of those who are likely to choose a replacement, republican Larry Elder is in the lead. The same SurveyUSA poll had Elder polling at 29%, followed by democrat Kevin Paffrath at 9% and republican John Cox at 8%.
Election day for the recall is Tuesday, September 14.