Early voters in California primary turn out in record numbers


Morning Consult: The race for the Democratic presidential nomination may be winding toward an inevitable conclusion as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues her march toward the 2,383 delegates she needs to clinch, but voters in California are showing record levels of interest in weighing in nonetheless.

As of Saturday, more than 1.6 million California voters have already turned in their absentee ballots, according to the secretary of State’s office. That’s a faster pace than California voters turned in absentee ballots ahead of the 2014 general election; 10 days before that year’s November elections, just 1.3 million voters had bothered to cast their ballots.

Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are engaged in a fraught battle for the state’s 475 delegates to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Polls indicate a tightening race, after Clinton posted early leads; a Public Policy Institute of California survey released last week showed Clinton leading by a slim 46 percent to 44 percent margin.

Those mail-in ballots can mean the difference between a win and a loss, said Dan Newman, a San Francisco-based Democratic strategist who has worked for Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and other Democrats around the state.

“A majority [of voters] vote by mail. Ballots go out four weeks before the election, so it’s not really election day, it’s election month,” Newman said.  Read more.