California could set record voter turnout in 2020 election

A young woman submits her ballot to a dropoff box in Santa Monica, October 11, 2020. Photo by Brian Hardzinski/KCRW

More than 5 million Californians have already cast ballots in the general election. That’s roughly 24% of all registered voters. And there are still 12 days to go.

“We already were a state that had a lot of vote-by-mail. We’ve just never seen it come this early,” says Paul Mitchell, Vice President of Political Data Inc

While Republicans have historically voted early and via mail, he says that has flipped this year. 

“Because of what they’re hearing in the national rhetoric around vote-by-mail and what they’re hearing from the president, [Republicans] are saying ‘I just don’t trust vote-by-mail,’ even if they’ve voted by mail in the past. Almost like it’s a brand, voting early has become more blue wave and voting late becomes a red wave thing,” says Mitchell.

While California leans heavily blue when it comes to presidential races, some local Congressional races remain close, including two in Orange County: Gil Cisneros v. Young Kim in the 39th district and Harley Rouda v. Michelle Steel in the 48th.

Republicans think they have a chance of unseating Rouda and Cisneros, reversing the blue wave of 2018, when Democrats made a historic sweep for the region that produced two Republican presidents, Nixon and Reagan. 

Credits

Guests:
Paul Mitchell - Vice President of Political Data Inc, a bipartisan voter data firm; former Democratic political consultant - @paulmitche11, Dan Schnur - professor at USC, UC Berkeley and Pepperdine - @danschnur

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes