It could be days (or weeks) before the presidential race is called. Californians, accustomed to waiting long after election day for results in contentious races, are uniquely prepared for a presidential election that remains too close to call in key battleground states like Pennsylvania and Georgia. In California, Prop. 15, the commercial property tax measure that would amend Prop. 13, remains too close to call.
More Californians than ever voted. When the final votes are tallied, it’s estimated that more than 16 million voters will have cast ballots in California. Statewide early voting patterns also shifted with Democrats voting early at much higher rates than Republicans.
Pollsters’ Trump-era struggles continue. Polling that showed an easy road to victory for former Vice President Joe Biden proved to be way off, eerily similar to polling in 2016 showing a large lead for Hillary Clinton. Pollsters have a major trust problem and that is going to continue for the foreseeable future.
Big Tech won its first major fight at the ballot box with the passage of Prop. 22. For the first time, Silicon Valley took on labor at the ballot box and, after spending more than $205 million, won a resounding victory.
Equity on the minds of lawmakers did not translate to ballot box success. With the Legislature providing the strong support necessary to put Prop. 16 on the ballot to reinstate affirmative action and Prop. 25 to end cash bail, voters rejected both measures. A significant majority of Californians identified racial inequality as a major problem in America, according to a survey from PPIC, but lawmakers will need to find a different solution to the problem.
Democrats’ supermajorities remain intact, but a successful non-partisan candidate may represent a new path forward. Democrats will hold on to all their current seats in the Assembly and could add up to four seats in the Senate, pending further results, holding strong super-majorities in each house. Former Assembly Republican leader and now registered independent Assemblyman Chad Mayes has a strong lead over his Republican opponent, demonstrating the viability of a No Party Preference candidacy.
Some surprises in local races as votes continue to be tallied. Some well-known and respected incumbents are struggling as Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs trails and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon maintains a narrow lead over newcomer opponents. Elsewhere, local elections were more predictable as Mark Ridley-Thomas and Holly Mitchell clinched open Los Angeles City Council and Board of Supervisors seats, respectively, and Asm. Todd Gloria maintains a sizeable lead in the San Diego mayoral race. Notably, Mitchell’s victory will create the first-ever all female board in Los Angeles County history.