California voters are being asked to weigh in on two questions in Tuesday’s recall election for Gov. Gavin Newson. But it’s possible there will only be a winner in one of the races.
Here’s a look at how AP plans to handle the calls in an election with some unusual mechanics.
TWO QUESTIONS, BUT ONLY ONE MAY MATTER
Forty-six candidates are on the ballot to replace Newsom but it won’t matter who comes in first unless the effort to remove the first-term Democrat succeeds.
California voters are being asked these two questions: Should Newsom be removed from office, yes or no, and who should replace him? If a majority votes yes on Newsom’s removal, the candidate who gets the most votes on the second question would become governor for the final year of Newsom’s term.
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But if the recall fails, the question of who would replace him would be irrelevant.
That’s why The Associated Press and other news networks will only declare a winner among the replacement candidates if the vote to recall Newsom is successful.
The top vote-getter on the replacement ballot could become obvious before the outcome of the recall vote is decided.
Conservative radio host Larry Elder, a Republican, is polling well ahead of the other 45 candidates.
BE READY TO WAIT FOR IT
If the races are close, it could take a while to determine the winners.
California historically takes weeks to count all the votes in statewide elections. In 2020, when nearly 18 million people cast ballots, a third of the votes in the presidential election were counted after Election Day.
Two years earlier, more than 40% were counted after Election Day.
After the polls close, the first results released by most counties in California include the mail-in ballots and early-in person votes that officials were able to count before the polls closed. Then they start counting the votes cast on Election Day at local polling places, a process that can last through the night.
Mail ballots can arrive up to a week after Election Day and still be counted, as long as they are postmarked by Election Day. This can take days or weeks. Mail ballots are generally counted in the order they are received, so the last ballots to be counted tend to be the last ones to arrive.
The Associated Press contributed to this article