Frequently Asked Questions

About Candidates and State Ballot Measures

  1. How are special elections conducted?

    California conducts open primaries for legislative, congressional and constitutional offices. In an open primary all candidates for an office are listed on the same ballot and anyone can vote for any candidate, regardless of party preference. If no candidate receives a majority of the votes in a special primary election, the two candidates who receive the most votes will move on to a run-off election.

  2. Who are the candidates?

    The Secretary of State's certified list of candidates for the State Senate District 35 Special Primary Election includes the names and contact information for all candidates on the ballot.

  3. What do "party preference" and "no party preference" mean when listed with candidate names on a ballot? What are the qualified political parties and website abbreviations?

    Since 2011, California voters who were previously known as “decline-to-state” (because they did not have a party affiliation) are known as "no party preference.” If a legislative or congressional candidate does not have a preference for a qualified political party, the phrase "no party preference" is listed next to the candidate's name on the ballot.

    Secretary of State website abbreviations for party preferences are as follows:

    • DEM = Democratic Party
    • REP = Republican Party
    • AI = American Independent Party
    • AE = Americans Elect Party
    • GRN = Green Party
    • LIB = Libertarian Party
    • P&F = Peace & Freedom Party
    • NPP = No Party Preference

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About This Election Results Website

  1. Will the unofficial election results change after election night? When will the election results be final?

    Yes, election results will change throughout the canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots and other ballots are processed. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take several days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. The frequency of updated results will vary based on the size of each county and the process each local elections office uses to tally and report votes.

    County elections officials must report their final results to the Secretary of State by December 19. The Secretary will certify the election shortly thereafter. (Elections Code section 15501)

  2. On election night: Why have some county elections offices not reported any results immediately after the polls close?

    Each county elections office processes ballots differently, and the distances that poll workers must travel from polling places to county offices vary greatly. State law requires county elections officials to send their first batch of results to the Secretary of State's office no more than two hours after they begin tallying the votes after polls close on election day. County elections officials continue to report results periodically until all polling place ballot totals have been reported. County elections officials will continue to count ballots not cast at polling places in subsequent days. (Elections Code sections 15150, 15151)

  3. On election night: Why do some counties show no precincts have reported, yet some votes have been counted?

    The first election results are typically ballots received before election day. Voters may cast ballots up to 29 days before election day. County elections officials may begin opening vote-by-mail ballot envelopes up to seven business days before election day, but those results cannot be accessed or shared with the public until all polls close on election day.

    Many county elections officials choose to tally and report these early voted ballots before results come in from precincts, which are sometimes far away from county headquarters. Early voted ballots simply appear as raw vote totals because, in this initial stage, the ballots are not attributed to individual precincts. (Elections Code sections 15101, 15152)

  4. When are vote-by-mail ballots counted?

    Vote-by-mail ballots that are received by county elections offices before election day are typically counted on election day. Many more vote-by-mail ballots are dropped off at polling places or arrive at county elections offices on election day. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take several days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. The frequency of updated results will vary based on the size of each county and the process each local elections office uses to tally and report votes.

    All vote-by-mail ballots that county elections officials determine have been cast by eligible voters are counted and included in the official election results. (Elections Code section 15320)

  5. When are provisional ballots counted?

    All provisional ballots that county elections officials determine have been cast by eligible voters are counted and included in the official election results. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take several days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. (Elections Code section 14310)

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