Just a few minutes after polls closed in California – and with 0% reporting – the Golden state has been called for Democrat Joe Biden.
The former Vice President captured California’s 55 electoral votes on Tuesday, defeating President Trump by over 290,000 votes and cementing California’s status as a blue state.
Biden’s victory in California came as no surprise. In 40,000 simulated elections, FiveThirtyEight showed Biden winning in California more than 99% of the time.
The average age of California’s population is 37-years-old, slightly younger than that of the entire country. As young voters across the country, especially those between 18 and 34 years old, are voting blue more often than their older counterparts, younger generations are presenting themselves as a considerable threat to the GOP in future elections.
Tristan Guererro, a sophomore at Menlo College majoring in real estate and finance, cast his first-ever vote for Biden and Kamala Harris over what he viewed as the campaign’s progressive and mindful leadership.
“I want the next team in office to be trustworthy, reliable, and have the ability to act forward-thinking,” Guererro said. “We need our next leaders to be able to be interactive and not neglectful of our people’s needs, our allied connections, and most importantly America’s priorities.”
Updated Nov. 3, 5:55 pm
California polls close at 8 p.m.
California polls close at 8 p.m., but Californians are allowed to cast their vote if they arrive before 8 p.m. due to California’s Voter Bill of Rights, according to CA SOS Vote Twitter. California has typically taken a longer time to process mail-in ballots, even before the pandemic, according to the New York Times.
Updated Nov. 3, 5:48 pm
Over half of California voters cast ballots ahead of election
Over half of California’s registered voters have cast their vote in the 2020 election, with 11.2 million people voting ahead of election day according to the LA Times. California has 22 million registered voters, the most of any state.
A long-time blue state, California is seen as a safe bet for Democrat Joe Biden this election.
A poll conducted by The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) showed Biden ahead of President Trump in California by as much as 26 points less than a month before the election. Biden has maintained a consistent lead of at least 20 points in California polls since March, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, won over 60% of California’s popular vote for Senator back in 2016, and polled more favorably after the October Vice Presidential debate than Vice President Mike Pence, according to CNN.
California has remained a consistently blue state since 1992, with democratic presidential candidates winning at least 50% of votes since President Bush’s first election, according to Ballotpedia.
In recent years, traditionally Republican counties have shown leftward swings. Orange County, typically a Republican pocket in the blue region of Coastal California, voted Democrat in 2016. Riverside County, usually a Republican outlier, also voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election.
Trump’s anti-immigration legislation has impacted California more so than other states, according to an LA Times article on the subject. California has the largest immigrant population in the country, with more than 10 million immigrants calling the state home according to 2018 estimates made by the PPIC.
California houses more immigrants protected by legislation that Trump has attempted to repeal, like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), than any other state. Biden promised to designate more “training and oversight” to immigration programs, rather than dissolve departments like ICE, according to the LA Times.
USC sophomore Ashley Nguyen said although she doesn’t see Biden as inciting the bold changes she feels America needs, she voted for his leadership and the respectful way he treats others. She also emphasized her distaste with Trump’s handling of racism and immigration.
“I want a president who realizes why racism is wrong and is not afraid to condemn white supremacists,” Nguyen said. “I want a president who doesn’t condone separating families at the border and does not force hysterectomies on women in detention.”
Nguyen feels that Biden would stop the suffering she’s seen happening in the country during Trump’s presidency. “I am tired of watching people suffer under his administration,” she said.
Democratic voters Michelle and Adam Lopez of Northern California said they would have cast their vote for the Biden/Harris ticket regardless of who was running against them. “[Our] values and political views have always sided with the Democratic Party,” they said.
Despite its clearly Democratic stance, California used to stand as a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. The state only became blue when its Latinx and Asian populations grew in the early 90s. The Republican Party linked itself to the controversial 1994 Proposition 187, also known as the Save Our State initiative, denying undocumented immigrants non-emergency health care, public education, and other state provisions. The Republicans' favoring Prop 187 alienated the new influx of immigrant voters, loosening the party’s grasp on California to this day, according to the LA Times.
Despite the state’s nearly 30-year-long history of Democratic voting, a few counties maintained red majorities. Central Valley and inland Northern California produced most of the state’s Republican votes. Nearly 80% of the counties found in the two regions resulted in Republican majorities in 2016, according to Politico.
Another race we’re tracking is L.A.'s City Council seat for District 10, a face-off between City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and attorney Grace Yoo.
Also on the ballot, George Gascón and Jackie Lacey are facing off to be L.A. County’s District Attorney, a race that some call the “most important” in the country due to its shaping of criminal justice reform. Read Annenberg Media’s coverage of the candidates.
Also, Leimert Park residents can now go to a local café to cast their ballots, as the café is currently operating as a polling station for voters in South Central. Read our coverage here.
The California ballot also includes 12 state-wide measures to be voted on this election. Read some of Annenberg Media’s explainers on the Propositions:
Proposition 15: The intersection between Proposition 15 and impacted communities
Proposition 16: The fight over affirmative action
Proposition 17: Understanding Prop 17
Proposition 21: Understanding California’s Proposition 21
Proposition 22: Uber and Lyft drivers and experts speak on Proposition 22
Additional Information on Proposition 17, by our reporter Myriam Alcala:
California is one of many states who allows people out of prison and done with parole to vote; however, it restricts the voting rights of people who are out of prison but not yet finished with parole. If passed, Prop 17 would make an amendment to California’s constitution to allow people on parole to vote.
Prop 17 falls under a time where the criminal justice system is under scrutiny due to the high rates of imprisoned BIPOC folks. A 2016 study from the Public Policy Institute of California discovered that about two-thirds of people who are on parole but now allowed to vote are Black or Latinx. Some supporters of Prop 17 claim that now allowing these people to vote is another form of voter suppression.
California’s Democratic Party, California’s Labor Federation, and Sen. Kamala Harris are just some of the supporters of this proposition, claiming that voting is an integral part of integration and rehabilitation. Additionally, people on parole are usually required to pay taxes yet are not allowed representation through voting.
Prop 17 is opposed by California’s Republican Party, Crime Victims United, and Senji Jim Nelson, who claim that reinstating the right to vote to people who have not finished their parole sentence hinders the justice of the victims.