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Orange County Is Already Seeing Historic Voter Turnout For Election 2020

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The following article was originally published Nov. 3, 2020, and republished through a collaboration with LAist and KPCC.

LAist and KPCC logos

For up to the minute Election coverage, visit KPCC's LAist and KCET's Vote 2020 websites.

Updated Nov. 3, 2020 at 9:49 a.m.

Additional reporting by Jill Replogle and Susanne Whatley.

It's the last day to cast your ballot for the great election of 2020. Although polls only opened a couple of hours ago, Southern California is already seeing massive voter turnout.

Trinh Luu (left) from Tustin and her sister, Anh Luu (right) from Stanton, arrived at the Orange County Registrar’s office this morning at 6:30 a.m. | Jill Replogle/LAist
Trinh Luu (left) from Tustin and her sister, Anh Luu (right) from Stanton, arrived at the Orange County Registrar’s office this morning at 6:30 a.m. | Jill Replogle/LAist

"It's historic," said Neal Kelley, the Registrar of Voters for Orange County. "We have just passed the total turnout for the 2008 presidential general election. But if you look at 2016, we have hit the total number of ballots cast in that election as well. And then just recently, in 2012, we hit that number last night also. So far, [we are seeing] historic numbers going back to '08."

Analysts have predicted massive voter turnout this year. So far, they've been right.

Orange County is the fifth largest voting jurisdiction in the United States, and other counties seem likely to see the same high turnout numbers. 

"I think we're ready for that," Kelley said.

Anh Luu, from Stanton, and her sister Trinh Luu, from Tustin, were the third and fourth people in line at the Orange County Registrar's office this morning. They're early birds who arrived at 6:30 a.m. and said they had a smooth voting experience.

The Luu sisters wanted to vote in person because they think it's more secure than voting by mail. Anh mentioned she had heard stories on the news about ballots being tossed out. 

"How can we trust the system? How can we trust even the postman anymore? So vote in person is the more secure way to do it and makes your vote count," Anh said.

Speaking to Susanne Whatley, who hosts our newsroom's Morning Edition show on the radio at 89.3 KPCC, Kelley said only seven of Orange County's 160 locations had a 20-minute or more wait this Tuesday morning.

"The good thing about we have full voting operating for four days before election day and that gives us a chnce to iron out some of those kinks early on. So I think we're going to have a good day today," Kelley said.

Despite a few minor snafus — one Orange County voting site experienced some scanning issues this morning, according to Kelley — he said, "Now that the morning is behind us, we're in a good spot."

Kelley says that at 8:05 p.m. tonight, he'll announce the tally for all of the ballots received in his office through midnight last night.

Listen to the interview:

Click through below to see some scenes from O.C. Registrar this morning:

People wait in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
1/6 People wait in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
People wait in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
2/6 People wait in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
People vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
3/6 People vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
A person waits in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
4/6 A person waits in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
People wait in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
5/6 People wait in line to vote at the O.C. Registrar. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
Cars wait in line for drop-off mail-in voting. | Chava Sanchez/LAist
6/6 Cars wait in line for drop-off mail-in voting. | Chava Sanchez/LAist

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