California's primary vote count could take longer than ever

Posted at 10:04 AM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 13:04:56-05

(AP/KGTV) — Californians start voting Monday in a high-profile Democratic presidential primary that has no clear front-runner.

Ballots could also take longer to count than in any previous election in a state already notorious for slow counting.

For the first time, Californians can register to vote on election day at the polls. The state's top election official expects record presidential primary turnout of California's 20 million registered voters.

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The March 3 primary was moved up from its usual June date so Californians might have more of a say in the outcome of the primary and the decision about the eventual Democratic nominee. Early voting begins Monday, the same day caucuses in Iowa start choosing their nominee.

"Historically we've been so late in the primary schedule that the nominees for president have been determined by the time Californians go to the polls," California secretary of state Alex Padilla told CNN. "By moving that up, we hope to have a real say in determining the nominees for president of all parties.

"The final date that was selected respects the role that the early states have historically played," he added.

By moving up the date of California's primary, the state risks having early voting come in before many unknowns are made clear.

Many consider the Iowa caucus as a magnifying glass to see what the 2020 field will look like. Without a definitive look at a candidate's status after the caucus, California's large window between early voting leading up to Super Tuesday could give candidates more pause to remain in the race, CNN reports.

Any state is eligible to move up its primary date. But in the past, some states have seen backlash after changing the date to occur before Iowa's caucus. In 2008, Michigan and Florida both moved up its primary dates and saw their DNC and RNC delegations cut in half, prompting them to change back, according to CNN.