A few things to keep in mind for those who are monitoring election returns in Ventura County and statewide tonight:
-- In close races, the result won't be known for perhaps weeks. Counties have until Dec. 7 to certify the results. About 20 percent of the total vote will remain outstanding even after the last report is issued around midnight. These will mostly be late-arriving mail-in votes, and it will be several days -- perhaps until next week -- until elections officials even begin to start processing them. The 2008 cliffhanger between Tony Strickland and Hannah-Beth Jackson until late November.
-- Don't read too much into the first batch of results, which are all vote-by-mail ballots. Those votes have a slight Republican tilt, as a relatively higher percentage of Democrats vote at polling places on Election Day, and those results start to trickle in later.
-- Know how many total votes to expect. To get a rough handle on how many votes remain to be counted at any given point, assume a 70 percent turnout rate (it will be plus or minus a couple points of that). Assuming a 70 percent turnout, here's how many total votes to expect in the races most folks will be watching:
-- 26th Congressional District: 250,985 votes (70 percent of total registration)
-- 27th Senate District: 376,158 votes.
-- in statewide races on the ballot propositions, the same precautions exist. In addition, there is the fact that, traditionally, Los Angeles County is the last county to complete its tally. In the case of Proposition 30, that would likely mean an end-of-the-night increase in support. The opposite will be true for Proposition 32. Most of the other propositions of interest, such as Propositions 34 and 37, don't have such a partisan tilt, so the end-of-night trends will be more difficult to predict.