When employees at the office of the Los Angeles City Clerk finished counting vote by mail ballots early this morning, they had a number: 167,657. What that means depends on how you slice the data.
It's a record when you look at the past 10 years of voting trends in general municipal elections. Never has such turnout occurred, and the number will only grow as more ballots are received today and tomorrow, which is Election Day.
It's also not a good indicator of turnout when you learn that 739,117 ballots were mailed out. That's -- so far, at least -- a 22.7 percent rate of return. But that's not surprising since total turnout in local L.A. elections are never high: 21 percent for the primary on March 5; 19 percent in 2009 to re-elect Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa; 34 percent in 2005 when he was first elected mayor, beating incumbent James Hahn.
Vote-by-mail ballots must arrive at the City Clerk's Office or be brought to polling places by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Until 5 p.m. today, voters can also cast ballots at the office, which is located at Piper Technical Center, 555 Ramirez Street, Space 300.
For the Record: An earlier version of this post suggested that voting could take place Monday at City Hall. It actually took place at Piper Tech.