Well, here we are! Election Day!
Polls opened roughly 30 seconds ago, so if you vote at the polls you have anywhere between now and 8 p.m. to get there and do your business. Don’t know where your polling place is? Enter your address in this thing and find out.
Are you a vote-by-mail voter who hasn’t returned her ballot yet? Drop that sucker off at any polling place before 8 p.m., or else get down to the post office before it closes and make sure you get it postmarked today. You can also drop it off at Humboldt County Election HQ — 2426 Sixth Street, Eureka — before 8 p.m.
Are you not currently registered to vote, but would like to vote anyway? If you are 18 years or older, a United States citizen, not a felon on parole and not declared mentally incompetent by the courts, you may cast a ballot via “same-day registration,” or “conditional voting.” See instructions here and get yourself to the County Elections Office.
It’s kind of a thin ballot this time around. The big-ticket items here in Humboldt County are the races for members of the Board of Supervisors from the first and second districts, along with — of course — the Democratic presidential primary.
In the First District, incumbent Rex Bohn looks to have his strongest challenger to date — low bar — in Cliff Berkowitz. Down in the Second, Supervisor Estelle Fennell is facing off against four people who would take her place; if she fails to receive more than 50 percent of the vote, the county will have its first supervisorial runoff election since 2010.
As is customary, we’ll be bloggin’ all night long here at Outpost HQ with the latest results as they come in, pictures from the victory parties, pictures from the defeat parties, etc., etc. Tune in! It’s fun!
The first results should be released shortly after 8 p.m. These will be the absentee or vote-by-mail voters who got their ballots back into the elections office early — before yesterday, anyway. After that, there will be two or three reports released throughout the evening as the tallies from the precincts come back, culminating with the election night final report. In recent years that’s been posted at about 1 a.m. It’ll have all the results from the regular, in-person precinct ballots plus those early absentees.
After that, though, there’ll be a long, long wait — several weeks — for the absolute final results. These will include the absentee ballots that came into the elections office late in the process, along with all the provision and conditional votes cast in the precincts. If a race is close, these can shift the election!
We’ve said this before, but now we have a handy series of charts to hammer it home: Remember, as those first results come in, that early votes are conservative votes! They’re disproportionately right-leaning, just as the votes in the precincts and the late absentees are disproportionately left-leaning!
In practice this means: If Bohn and Berkowitz are tied in that first wave of early absentees — or even if Berkowitz is only a tiny bit behind — that will be a shockingly good sign for Berkowitz’s chances and a shockingly bad sign for Bohn’s. Likewise: If, say, the conservative Michelle Bushnell is just barely eking out a lead against (not as conservative) Estelle Fennell in the first round of votes, there’s no reason to expect that to hold when the remainder of the votes are counted. (Neither of these scenarios seems particularly likely. It’s just a for-instance.)
It’s just a way of saying that none of the three main rounds of votes we see are particularly representative of the entire electorate. The vote swings this way and that.
Here, check this out this slideshow:
Why should this be so? Our hypothesis is that early absentee voting and conservative voting are both side-effects of old people voting. They correlate with one another because they are both caused by the merciless march of years. That’s what we suppose, anyway.
OK, get out and vote! We’ll talk to you in a bit!