BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Today marks the recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom. The months-long ferocity of the campaign trail ends today … as the fate of the state’s highest office hangs in the balance. Elections officials say over 170 polling sites will open around the county today for the state’s recall election. Polls open at 7 this morning, so it’s time to figure out when you’re going to cast your ballot. Experts say thinking ahead can help you avoid long waiting times.
“It’s usually busy early in the morning, people going in to vote before they go to work, and then late afternoon, on their way home from work,” said Kern County Clerk Mary Bedard. “Often times, if they’re doing it outside of those peak times, they can just walk in and vote, there wouldn’t really be a wait time.”
Every registered voter in the county should have received a ballot in the mail. You can bring that ballot to the polls. You can also register at any polling site today with a conditional voter registration form.
“Just come in, they fill out what is essentially the information from the voter registration form,” said Bedard. “On election day, people can go to any poll site and then the poll workers will be able to do the conditional voter registration for them.”
A recent poll from UC Berkeley shows Governor Gavin Newsom is likely to come out on top, with about 60% of Californians reporting they’ll vote to keep Newsom in office. But the results of the race won’t be clear for hours, or even days, after polls close at 8:00 tonight.
“The vast majority in Kern County generally does come in vote-by-mail. They do take longer to process, obviously, as we have to check signatures,” said Bedard. “That’s why the results take quite a while after election day.”
The county will release a first look at vote-by-mail tallies after the last voter in Kern has cast their ballot, which will likely be around 9:00 tonight.
“Typically, we would not be getting Ridgecrest in until about 1 in the morning, 1:30 even,” said Bedard.
The latest county stats says voters are clamoring to make their votes count. About a quarter of Kern’s registered voters sent in early mail-in ballots, with over 100,000 received so far.
“For a special election, that is a pretty high turnout, more than we might have expected,” said Bedard.
If you want to find the polling place closest to you, check out kernvote.com. We’ll bring you hour-by-hour updates on the race tonight on 17 News.