Election Results: What to Expect on Election Night

Understanding how election results are produced is key to anticipating when results will be posted.

California law does not allow wireless transmission of election results from polling places. Election results are produced by physically closing down a polling place, driving the secure results to a drop off location, which is then driven under the guard of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to our Santa Ana facility. This is a physical process, not electronic. In Orange County the Registrar of Voters operates nearly 1,300 polling places, which means polling place results are subject to the limitations of the movement of supplies.

On large countywide elections the bulk of Election Day results come in from 10:30 p.m. to midnight, when most of the polling places finish closing due to last minute voters. When comparing what has been reported voters should look at total turnout, not just precinct reported data. While most California counties will continue counting through the night and into the following day we will finish our unofficial results by 1:00 a.m. (estimated).

The first polling place results that will be reported at 9:30 p.m. will be a lower number than later in the evening. This is due to outlying polling places and the need to transport returns to the Registrar’s office. Orange County is the only California county to post results every 30 minutes and everyday at 5:00 p.m. following Election Day. An estimate of ballots left to be counted will be posted on their website at ocvote.com following the last unofficial posting on Election Night.

Orange County election results schedule for Election Night:

Tuesday, November 6th – 8:05 p.m. – vote-by-mail and early voting results posted

Tuesday, November 6th - 9:30 p.m. – first unofficial results from polling places

Tuesday, November 6th - 10:00 p.m. – second unofficial results from polling places

Tuesday, November 6th - 10:30 p.m. – third unofficial results from polling places

Tuesday, November 6th - 11:00 p.m. – fourth unofficial results from polling places

Tuesday, November 6th - 11:30 p.m. – fifth unofficial results from  polling places

Tuesday, November 6th - 12:00 a.m. – sixth unofficial results from polling places

Tuesday, November 6th - 12:30 a.m. – seventh unofficial results from polling places

Tuesday, November 6th - 1:00 a.m. – eighth unofficial results from polling places (and tentative last update for the evening)

Wednesday, November 7th – 5:00 p.m. first post Election Night unofficial results from additional vote-by-mail ballots, paper ballots and provisional ballots cast at the polling places

Updates will continue each weekday by 5:00 p.m. during the canvass period until the last official results are posted.