Gubernatorial Recall Election Results – When To Expect Them

election results graphic

On election night, we all want to know the results right away. But counting ballots takes time, and that includes for a special election such as the Sept. 14 California Gubernatorial Recall Election. Here are some reasons why:

  • Record high number of over 1.96 million registered voters.
  • More mail ballots issued than ever before because every active registered voter received a ballot in the mail.
  • Mail ballots can be counted if postmarked on or before Election Day and received on or before Sept. 21.
  • Voting locations opened for a four-day period, Sept. 11 – Sept. 14.

So, what can you expect on election night?

The first set of unofficial results will appear shortly after 8 p.m. This will include mail ballots received before Election Day, including polls ballots from early voting between Sept. 11 – 13. After the first unofficial report, election night updates will add only ballots cast at polls on Election Day.

The Election Day ballots come in after the polls close at 8 p.m. There may be a gap in time for the next set of results due to poll workers packing up supplies at each location and driving from 221 voting locations across the county.

Upon arrival, the polls ballots are scanned, and results will be periodically updated throughout the night until most of the precinct ballots have been counted.

It may be midnight, however, before all voting location ballots arrive at the Registrar’s. The final unofficial election night results may not come in until after 1 a.m. and will only cover the ballots that can be counted immediately. You can follow the Registrar’s office on Twitter for updates.

The counting of ballots does not end on election night. Here’s what remains:

Mail ballots. The Registrar’s office mailed over 1.96 million ballots for this election and anticipates between 200,000 to 250,000 mail ballots could be dropped off at voting locations or picked up at the U.S. Postal Service on Election Day. Plus, mail ballots sent right before or on Election Day have 7 days to arrive if postmarked by Election Day.

Then there are provisional ballots. People who missed the Aug. 30 registration deadline may conditionally register and vote provisionally up to and on Election Day. It’s unknown how many people will choose to do that.

For each provisional ballot, election workers must make sure the voter didn’t already cast a ballot.

After election night, the next release of unofficial results will be Thursday, Sept. 16 after 5 p.m. Additional postings may occur at the discretion of the Registrar.

However, election results must be certified 30 days after Election Day, on Oct. 14, and the Registrar expects to use every minute of the certification period to make sure the results are accurate.

To view election results, visit