A Last Minute Guide For California Voters

A Last-Minute Guide for California Voters

What to know about voting in today’s election and following the results.

An Early Voting Site At The Hammer Museum In Los Angeles.
Da’Shaunae Marisa for The New York Times

Today is Election Day.

All registered voters in California now receive ballots in the mail for every election, so perhaps you turned in yours weeks ago. As of Monday night, more than five million Californians had already done so, according to Political Data Inc.

But today is the deadline for everyone else to cast their votes.

This election, Californians are picking a number of statewide leaders, including governor and attorney general, as well as congressional representatives, which could determine whether Republicans take control of the House. We’re also deciding whether to enshrine the right to abortion in our state Constitution and if the state should ban flavored-tobacco products, among other ballot propositions.

A number of the state’s biggest cities, including San Jose and Oakland, are also choosing new mayors. In Los Angeles, the billionaire developer Rick Caruso and the longtime Representative Karen Bass are squaring off to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti — and the race currently appears to be in a dead heat, my colleague Shawn Hubler reports.

Whoever wins the job to lead Los Angeles, America’s second-largest city, will be tasked with easing the region’s rising rates of homelessness and crime, as well as “an almost clinical depression” among nearly every voter demographic, Darry A. Sragow, a Democratic political consultant, told Shawn. “The next mayor of Los Angeles is going to inherit an incredible mess,” Sragow said.

No matter where in the state you’re voting, we have answers to all your last-minute election questions.

All registered and active California voters should have received a ballot by mail last month. You can mail that ballot back or drop it in a drop box. You can also vote in person.

Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 8. Ballots returned at a secure drop box must be deposited by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

You can look up ballot drop boxes near you on the California secretary of state’s website.

Check here. If you’re not registered, you can register today. Learn more about same-day voter registration here.

Many of the races may be familiar if you voted in the June primary. That election narrowed the field for each contest down to the top two candidates. You can review the primary results here.

In today’s election, you’ll be voting on:

  • Seven ballot propositions. You can read our guide to this year’s initiatives, which cover issues including dialysis clinics, sports betting and reproductive rights.

  • Races for U.S. Senate, governor, secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, attorney general, insurance commissioner, members of the state Board of Equalization, state superintendent of public instruction and state Supreme Court justices.

  • Based on where you live, you’ll also be picking a congressional representative, a state senator and a state assembly member. Hundreds of thousands of Californians were shifted into new election districts by recent redistricting, but you can check your current district with this CalMatters tool.

  • Most Californians will also see local races on their ballots. Los Angeles County voters, for example, are deciding whether to keep Alex Villanueva, one of California’s most polarizing figures, as their sheriff.

Track when your ballot is mailed, received and counted at california.ballottrax.net/voter.

Follow the election results here. California won’t begin releasing results until after the polls close at 8 p.m. Pacific time.

Though millions of Californians have already returned their ballots, county officials cannot start tallying them until the polls close tonight. Before that, they can process the early ballots and prepare them to be counted.

Vote counting tends to be slow in California because there are so many voters. And there is a seven-day window after the election to allow mail-in ballots postmarked on Nov. 8 to arrive. But early returns should help streamline the tally, and counties must begin reporting results to the states within two hours after the polls close.

For more:

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


  • Mudslide risk: As rain batters Southern California, some residents near recent burn scars are bracing for potential debris flows, KNBC-TV reports.

  • San Diego: A lawsuit accusing San Diego city officials of worsening generational poverty by concentrating low-income housing in poorer neighborhoods for decades now appears likely to go to trial, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

  • Culver City: Voters in this city on the Westside of Los Angeles will decide on Tuesday whether 16- and 17-year-olds should be able to vote in local elections, The Los Angeles Times reports.



Neue Focus

For $1.4 million: A 1920 bungalow in Los Angeles, a 1909 Craftsman-style house in Oakland and a two-bedroom cottage in Redondo Beach.

Christopher Simpson for The New York Times.

Cacio e pepe cheese puffs.

Mitch Diamond/Getty Images

Today’s tip comes from Mary Ann Mitchell, who recommends a state park in a ghost town in Northern California:

“Living in California, choosing one spot is impossible as there are so many great places to explore. But a unique place to see is Bodie State Historic Park off Interstate 395. First, the drive there through the mountains and rivers is lovely. At the turn off to Bodie, the dirt road winds along the hills and all of sudden this preserved old town appears. It’s interesting to take a self-guided tour of the buildings and learn about the people who lived there during the mining glory days. There is also a cemetery with lots of history and a nice little picnic area, so bring a lunch and relax. History abounds in California.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.

Have you visited any of the travel destinations that we’ve recommended in the newsletter? Send us a few lines about your trip, and a photo!

We’d like to share them in upcoming editions of the newsletter. Email us at CAToday@nytimes.com. Please include your name and the city in which you live.

George Rose/Getty Images North America, via Tbd

The Sonoma Botanical Garden, known for its Asian influence, opened its newest trail to the public over the weekend — and it’s all about California.

The wheelchair-accessible trail is a little under a half-mile and takes hikers past the garden’s vineyard, and then by oak trees and next to a creek, The Sonoma Index-Tribune reports. From the trail’s steepest point, you can see them all together, a perfect snapshot of local native Sonoma nature.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya

P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.

Briana Scalia and Steven Moity contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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