As of this morning 8.7 million ballots already cast with strong Democratic turnout in recall election

By Paul Mitchell |Political Data Inc. | @Political_Data

This strange mid-September, odd-year Special Election Day is upon us.

As of right now, the PDI Recall Ballots Returned Tracker has 8.7 million votes cast, with 4.5 million from Democrats, 2.2 million from Republicans, and just under 2 million from Independents and other minor parties.

You can continue to check as the counts change today at

Also, if you’re wondering how many people have returned their ballot in your county, school board or city council district, you can see our counts tool here: and just select any jurisdiction in California to get the breakdown of who has voted, their partisanship and other demographics.

There may be two questions on the ballot, but there’s only one question for observers of these early returns: will Republican turnout rebound? 

We have been watching closely to see if Republicans and pro-Recall voters who were billed as super-enthusiastic will turnout.  Or, if they will continue to be outpaced by Democrats.

Yesterday was the biggest single-day report, with 909,742 ballots received. And Republicans were 31% of this haul, with Democrats at 45%.  This is a higher Republican performance than the 26% share they have been of ballots overall, but it’s not earth-shattering.  In fact, it’s just four points higher than their average share of the ballots cast over the past week, and during this last week the Republican share of the electorate only went up a point, from 25% to 26%.

Where recall proponents really have a potential to shift the numbers is with the in-person voting.  As before, we can look specifically at two counties to get a sense of how much this in-person is breaking Republican:

Los Angeles:

                Mailed Ballots: 60% Dem/17% Rep

                In Person: 41% Dem / 37% Rep

Orange County:

                Mailed Ballots: 38% Dem/38% Rep

                In Person: 16% Dem / 65% Rep

This Republican lean of the in-person is pretty amazing, and shows the lingering effect of the by-mail voter fraud claims in 2020, and even this election cycle, that has caused a large distrust among a segment of this electorate.

But the share of votes that are from this in-person activity isn’t overwhelming. These votes were just 22% of LA County’s ballots returned yesterday, and just 19% of Orange.

Looking a bit deeper at Orange County Registrar’s daily count for their in-person, we see they had 26,000 in person votes yesterday, but in total they have only reached about a third of the in-person voting that they had in the 2020 General Election.

Republicans are, as of right now, 2.2 million votes behind Democrats.  To make up this huge gap, pro-recall voters will need a massive surge, not just percentages of percentages.

Finally, everyone is asking about total turnout. To be completely honest, when I was first asked about turnout in this election, my response was “39% seems too low, 54% seems too high, so maybe 48%?” About two weeks ago, the early returns, high Democratic numbers and expectation of a big Republican surge, made me lean more to the 55-60% range, but now that seems less likely.

Hearing even this AM from registrars and campaign staff suggests that we aren’t seeing a rush at the polls this morning, and maybe the endgame of this election took some of the excitement out of the race from those earlier most-enthusiastic pro-recall voters.

Keep an eye on our twitter account at Political Data (@Political_Data) / Twitter as we will continue to get data throughout the day with many counties providing us regular updates which will be put into the tracker.

Get today’s PDF here: or check out the tracker on the website at

Follow us on Twitter @ElkGroveNews
Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2021. All right reserved.


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