Mayoral candidate Barbara Bry drops off her mail-in ballot at the La Jolla branch library on Election Day. Photo by Chris Stone

As Election Day begins, nearly 1.3 million San Diego County residents have already voted — a 66% early turnout that matches the total turnout in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters reported that a total of 1,288,642 ballots had been cast as of 9:30 a.m. That included 1,203,205 mail ballots and 85,437 early in-person votes.

The registrar is estimating turnout to reach 80% to 85% of registered voters by the end of Election Day, compared to an 81% turnout in the 2016 presidential election.

The high early turnout, thanks to mail ballots and the opening of polling places beginning Friday, is part of a nationwide early voting surge prompted by the pandemic. As of Tuesday morning, 100.3 million Americans had voted, according to the U.S. Elections Project at the University of Florida.

Registrar Michael Vu has said the early San Diego County ballots will likely be included in the first election night tally shortly after polls close.

“The sooner we receive your ballot, the sooner we can start processing it so it will be counted right when the polls close at 8 p.m. on Nov. 3,” Vu said last week.

In-person polling places and mail ballot locations in San Diego County will be open until 8 p.m. for Election Day.

Any voter who is in line at a polling place or drop-off location at 8 p.m. will be allowed to vote.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.