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THE L.A. REPORT IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY LLOYD PEST CONTROL

What We Know So Far About State And Local Election Results

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(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

NOTE: A NEWER VERSION OF THIS STORY IS AVAILABLE HERE »


Los Angeles County election officials updated election returns on Wednesday evening, providing a clearer look at the fate of the Los Angeles District Attorney race, closely watched LAUSD and city council contests, and several of the most expensive ballot measures in California history.

Progressive candidates and causes have taken significant leads in several of the races.

The results could still change in the coming days -- the process of counting the vote will take time. By law, county election officials have 31 days to report results.

3.4 million votes have been tallied in L.A. County, according to a Wednesday evening update. That puts the voter tunrout figure at 59% — though that will continue to rise as more ballots arrive through the mail. The final tally is likely to exceed the 3.5 million votes cast in 2016.

In Orange County, more than 1.3 million ballots have been cast, representing a 74% voter turnout. In Riverside County, more than 858,000 ballots have been cast, although over 400,000 still need to be processed.

Election experts were stunned by the levels of early voting in California and across the country, and hopes were high that 2020 will be an election with high turnout. However, the precise voter turnout in California may not be known until after Thanksgiving.

Vote-by-mail ballots will be accepted by county registrars until 17 days after the election, as long as they are postmarked by November 3.

That means the last votes may not arrive until November 20. Late-arriving votes will boost turnout numbers, so be wary of the initial figures on election night and later this week.

Ballots counted in the coming days could also flip several races -- late-arriving votes can break decisively, making an election evening lead disappear.

The statewide voter turnout picture will become clearer on Thursday evening, when the Secretary of State releases information on unprocessed ballots in every California county.

RESULTS WE ARE FOLLOWING CLOSELY

In L.A.

Statewide

Congress

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Was A Westminster Campaign Deceiving Voters, Or Assisting Them?

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Supporters and critics of an unofficial ballot collecting site in Westminster argue on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020. (David Wagner/LAist)

A skin care business in the Orange County city of Westminster became the focus of a District Attorney investigation on Election Day, after some complained that it was hosting an unofficial vote center.

The business, Apogée International, is owned by Westminster Vice Mayor Kimberly Ho, who is up for reelection. Van Tran, a lawyer for her campaign, said they’d been advertising — including on local Vietnamese-language radio — that voters could come to Ho's business to drop off their ballots or to get help filling them out.

Complaints reached the Orange County Registrar when a video circulated on social media showed a hand-drawn sign attached to an electric pole in front of the building reading "Vote Here."

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Another video showed campaign staffers throwing out trash that included scraps of paper with the Registrar's logo on it. The staffers wore shirts emblazoned with the name of O.C. Supervisor Michelle Steel, who is running for Congress in the 48th District.

The District Attorney's office dispatched an investigator to the site but didn't shut it down.

Meanwhile, representatives from groups including Asian Americans Advancing Justice and Election Protection spent the rest of the day in the parking lot outside the skin care store, directing voters to cast their ballots at an official vote center — and feuding with supporters of Vice Mayor Ho.

BOTH SIDES ACCUSE THE OTHER OF SUPPRESSING VOTES

When I talked to Andrea Bird-Steiner, a lawyer with Election Protection, she said she was concerned about whether the ballots would make it to the Registrar of Voters.

"We're not stopping people from dropping off [ballots]” she said. “We're just giving them information to let them make their own decision about dropping it off."

Tran, the lawyer for Ho's campaign, said all ballots were either dropped off in official ballot boxes or turned in at vote centers. He said Bird-Steiner and others who approached voters outside Ho's store on Election Day had the "unintentional, or intentional, effect of voter suppression."

"They approached the campaign in a very aggressive and accusatory way, and it freaked out the voters who came by to seek help or to basically drop off their ballots," he said.

'NO INDICATION' THAT BALLOTS TOSSED OUT

Kimberly Edds, a spokesperson for District Attorney Todd Spitzer, said the .DA.'s office had initially concluded that "there is no indication that ballots were discarded or destroyed."

Edds said it appears that what denouncers thought were ballots being thrown away were actually just the outside mailing envelopes around ballots.

She noted that helping people fill out and/or turn in their ballots is legal in California.

WHO WROTE 'VOTE HERE?'

As for the “Vote Here” sign, Tran said the campaign had no knowledge of the sign or how it got there.

"We think that somebody planted this because definitely the campaign would not make a sign that is so unprofessional," Tran said.

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California Coronavirus Cases Creeping Up

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Since October, California’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has ticked up to 3.3%.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California's Health and Human Services Secretary today called the increase slow and steady, compared with the huge case surge in the Midwest.

"If we had a test positivity for the entirety of the U.S., it would be 6.7%, so just over double what we're seeing here in California," he said.

Ghaly credited a gradual reopening plan that was implemented after lessons learned during a surge of cases in July. The color-coded reopening structure sorts counties into four tiers based on the severity of their local outbreak and restricts which businesses can be open and which rules they have to follow.

(CDPH)

"Now we go slower and we believe that gives us significantly more time to see how the impact of certain sector changes play out in our case numbers, our test positivity as well as our hospitals and ICUs," Ghaly told a press conference.

In August, 38 counties were in the most restrictive purple tier, which indicates widespread transmission. Now that list is down to 10, including L.A. and newly added Shasta County.

As expected with increasing cases, hospitalizations are up, along with a 20% increase in ICU cases, although Ghaly said the state’s hospitals can handle the current number of patients.

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Prop 23 Fails: Voters Reject New Requirements For Dialysis Clinics

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(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

California voters have rejected Proposition 23. As of Wednesday afternoon, the vote count was 64% against, 36% in favor, but the gap was enough for the Associated Press to call it.

The ballot measure would have required physicians to be on-site at clinics that perform dialysis, the blood-filtering treatment for people whose kidneys aren't functioning properly. It would also have required consent from the state in order for a clinic to close and required clinics to report infection data to California health officials.

Supporters, backed by a major health care workers union, argued that having a physician onsite would ensure that clinic workers don't rush through treatments, and that reporting infections to state health officials would increase transparency about conditions at the facilities.

But the prevailing argument came from opponents, backed by major dialysis companies and with endorsements from the L.A. Times and Southern California News Group, who said requiring physicians would increase health care costs, ultimately forcing some clinics to close and potentially make treatment harder to access.

READ MORE ABOUT PROP 23:

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Prop 21 Fails: Voters Turn Back Effort To Expand Rent Control

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(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Proposition 21, a measure that would give local governments across California more power to enact rent control, has gone down to defeat, according to the Associated Press.

Prop 21 would have amended existing state law to give cities the power to impose rent control on buildings that are at least 15 years old. Currently, they cannot apply it to buildings built after 1995. It also would have allowed cities impose rent control on single-family homes and condos — if an individual owned more than two homes.

Supporters said the measure was a necessary step in the midst of the state's housing crisis.

Opponents argued that California didn't need more rent control, pointing to a law that took effect in January that caps rent increases across the state at 5% per year plus the local rate of inflation.

READ OUR FULL COVERAGE OF PROP 21:

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Prop 24 Passes: Californians Approve Data Privacy Law

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(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

California voters have passed an initiative that will give state residents the strongest online privacy protections in the world, according to the Associated Press.

Proposition 24 has received about 56% yes votes, according to the latest figures from the Secretary of State’s website.

Prop 24 will add new provisions to the landmark state law passed in 2018 that gives people more privacy over their digital data. It will also create a new state agency for its implementation and enforcement.

READ OUR EXPLAINER ON THE BALLOT MEASURE HERE:

Proposition 24: Add new Consumer Privacy Laws

Early Results Of LAUSD’s Most Expensive School Board Election Ever: What Do They Mean?

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The candidates running in November's L.A. Unified school board races. From left: in Board District 3, Marilyn Koziatek, incumbent Scott Schmerelson; in Board District 7, Patricia Castellanos, Tanya Ortiz Franklin (Campaign photos)

Charter school advocates appear to have blocked Los Angeles’ teachers union from electing a friendly majority to the L.A. Unified School Board.

The union, United Teachers Los Angeles, had hoped to replace the board’s retiring “swing vote” in District 7 with a more reliable ally. But in early counts, UTLA-endorsed Patricia Castellanos trailed opponent Tanya Ortiz Franklin by more than 17 percentage points.

In District 3, however, incumbent and UTLA favorite Scott Schmerelson appears in a strong position to hold on to his seat — despite the California Charter Schools Association outspending the union by a 6-to-1 margin hoping to elect Marilyn Koziatek.

THE BALANCE OF POWER

For years, charter advocates and UTLA have competed to elect LAUSD board members they view as friendly to their respective causes. Three of the board’s current members — Schmerelson, Jackie Goldberg and George McKenna — were endorsed by UTLA.

No candidate has conceded or declared victory, but if early results hold, UTLA’s hopes of winning a majority on the board would be dashed.

WHAT THE RESULTS MEAN FOR LAUSD — A FEW THOUGHTS:

  • Charter politics influence who educates your kids: In LAUSD, one out of every five students attends a charter school. Teachers unions view charters as an existential threat to district-run schools. A new state law was supposed to ease tensions in districts like LAUSD. Already, charter advocates have accused the current LAUSD board of using this law to hassle charter schools. The board also holds sway over charter school “co-locations” — fraught, forced space-sharing arrangements on LAUSD campuses, which sometimes have sparked protests.
  • Reopening strategy? During the campaign, charter-allied parent advocacy group Speak Up claimed a UTLA-friendly board majority would be less likely to reopen schools for in-person instruction. It’s not clear how the board’s makeup would affect LAUSD’s reopening strategy — but it’s worth noting board members have ceded broad emergency powers to Superintendent Austin Beutner, allowing him to make many pandemic-related decisions. Speaking of which…
  • The superintendent: Schmerelson has suggested it’s time to “modify” the superintendent’s pandemic powers — which Beutner has used to enter fast-track deals to offer COVID-19 tests, free meals, laptops and internet connections.
  • How the district spends money: During the campaign, Franklin and Koziatek stood out for their bold talk about LAUSD’s finances. Franklin said LAUSD must at least consider cuts to employee benefits or even school closures if — and she says it’s a big “if” — such cuts would shore up services for students. By contrast, Schmerelson endeared himself to many UTLA supporters by breaking with the district during the 2019 strike, urging LAUSD leaders to spend more on the union’s demands.
  • L.A. School Police: Over the summer, board members voted to cut the budget for LAUSD’s dedicated police force. Schmerelson voted against that cut. As racial justice activists continue to push for disbanding the department, Schmerelson’s victory would be a big deal: he’s been a staunch supporter of the department in other board fights

BY THE WAY…

  • Much higher turnout. Up until this year, LAUSD board races were decided in odd-numbered years; turnout was very low. But for the first time since 1906, L.A.’s holding municipal elections in an even-numbered year. Whatever happens, turnout will be much higher: in LAUSD’s Board District 3, according to Political Data, Inc., officials have already received more than 243,000 ballots — which would nearly equal the number of votes cast in all Board District 3 elections between 2003 and 2015.

KEEP FOLLOWING THIS RACE:

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Prop 20 Fails: Voters Reject Effort To Roll Back Criminal Justice Reforms

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(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

California voters overwhelming rejected Proposition 20, which would have rolled back some of the criminal justice reforms of recent years, according to the Associated Press.

The measure would have undone parts of Propositions 47 and 57. Prop 47, passed in 2014, changed a number of non-violent minor crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

Proposition 57, passed in 2016, allows more felons to gain early parole for good behavior and other actions.

Those reforms will now stay in place.

Prop 20's supporters said it was needed because under Prop 47, domestic abusers, child traffickers and those who have drugged and raped people are categorized as "non-violent" offenders and are technically eligible for early parole. They also claimed the measure led to an increase in larceny and car thefts.

Opponents said historic crime rates remain low, recidivism fell due to Prop 47 and property crimes declined in 2019.

READ OUR FULL COVERAGE OF PROP 20:

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They Can’t Vote, But These Teens Stepped Up To Work The Polls  

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Samea Derrick (left) says Gen Z is forward thinking and inclusive. "We want change." (Mariana Dale/LAist)

High school seniors Samea Derrick and Olivia Kook are both 17 years old -- which means they couldn’t vote in this year’s election. But that doesn’t mean they couldn’t participate.

“Hey, vote center’s that way. Just follow the arrows!”

Derrick and Kook were among a group of local high school student election workers who helped out on Tuesday at a vote center at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita.

The L.A. County Registrar-Recorder's Office estimated it would need nearly 17,000 people to help run the general election and hired teens to work, under adult supervision, through its high school student program.

“A lot of election workers are usually seniors and a lot of seniors want to stay home right now, which is perfectly understandable,” Derrick said. “I thought there would be a shortage. That's why I wanted to volunteer.”

Derrick and Kook found out about the program through their school, Academy of the Canyons, a public “middle college high school” that blends high school and college classes and shares a campus with the similarly named community college.

The two hadn’t seen each other in person since the pandemic forced the campus to shut down in March. On a normal Tuesday afternoon, they’d be in class in a building just a few hundred feet away.

Instead they log into online classes from morning until night.

“A lot of us are burning out right now,” Kook said. “Like a couple weeks ago, I just kind of stopped doing my work. I gave up for a bit… I felt like I couldn't do it, like, take another day of it because it feels like it's the same day over and over again.”

Directing voters to the polls and watching for electioneering was a welcome change.

“It's refreshing because I know a lot of my friends said they just felt so lonely throughout this entire time,” Kook said.

Derrick took on the responsibility of talking to voters who tried to enter the polls wearing the names of specific candidates on their clothing. In California, it’s considered electioneering and is illegal.

“The first dude I talked to, he was a little confrontational,” Derrick said of man wearing a Donald Trump shirt, mask and hat.

“He's like, ‘Well, what do you want me to do? Go in shirtless?’ And I'm like, ‘No, sir. But you can flip the shirt inside out if you wanted to.”

The man did and was able to successfully cast a ballot.

Although the 17-year-olds didn’t get to vote themselves, Derrick says she’s been paying close attention to the news.

“Currently, I am really unhappy with how the climate change crisis is being handled, which is very poorly,” she said. “I want that to change. I want transformational changes, both socially and, you know, politically.”

All in all, the day was relatively quiet. Before Election Day, L.A. County officials had already received more than 2.9 million ballots. In 2016, there was a total of 3.5 million votes.

There was plenty of downtime for playing cards, attempting to make TikToks and having refreshingly normal conversations, like where to get food on their break.

“They make killer paninis at the mall,” Derrick said. She usually orders the mushroom and spinach one.

Another mall option? Hot Dog On A Stick, with its iconic blue, red, yellow and white striped uniforms, which Derrick was pretty sure she’d never eaten.

“You’ve never had Hot Dog On A Stick?” Kook asked, incredulous.

“It’s just a hot dog on a stick,” Derrick said. “How good could it be?”

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Prop 17 Passes: Parolees Will Be Able To Vote In California

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null Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist

By a wide margin, California voters have passed Proposition 17, which lets felons on parole cast ballots in elections, according to the Associated Press.

Until now, felons could only vote after competing their parole, which on average lasts about three years.

Supporters argued that parole is not intended to be a punishment and pointed out that parolees were already allowed to have jobs, pay taxes and otherwise contribute to civic life.

Opponents argued that parolees have not finished making full restitution for their crimes and that a ban on voting was just another restriction they should live with — along with those imposed on their movements, drug use and contact with certain people.

READ OUR FULL COVERAGE ON PROP 17:

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Prop 22 Passes: California's App-Based Drivers Remain Contractors

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(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

In what was the most expensive ballot measure fight in state history, gig companies led by Uber, Lyft and DoorDash succeeded in persuading voters to strip app-based drivers of employee rights they had won under a new state law.

Prop 22 was the result of fallout from AB5, a controversial state law that redefines which workers are considered independent contractors. Since AB5 went into effect at the start of 2020, judges had ruled that Uber and Lyft must treat their drivers as employees.

California voters approved Prop 22, which classifies drivers and other workers for app-based companies as independent contractors, in addition to enacting several new labor policies specifically for app-based companies.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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California, LA County Taking On A Bigger Role In Progressive Politics

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Nithya Raman attends Hollywood's Change Makers on March 12, 2019 in Los Angeles. (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Marie Claire)

Looking back 25 years, L.A. County was more conservative than the rest of the state. The San Francisco Bay Area was the home of liberalism, according to Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles.

Now that's completely changed.

"I think Southern California now is the heart of progressive politics — not just in California, but to some degree, in the whole country," Sonenshein told KPCC's AirTalk. "L.A. County is now to the left of the rest of the state, and that is such a sea change in the history of California, that it's hard not to notice it."

Sonenshein cited L.A.'s Fourth District City Council race drawing national attention, with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton making opposing endorsements — Sanders for Nithya Raman, Clinton for incumbent David Ryu.

Some of the factors that went into this, according to Sonenshein: the rise of organized labor, the Latino community, a younger and more liberal constituency, and moving city elections to even-numbered years.

"California was always a part of the Republican Party nationally, but never for the Democrats — California was the ATM machine that you come to to raise campaign money. Now there's a Californian on the Democratic ticket," Sonenshein said.

He added that Kamala Harris has been living in Los Angeles, and noted that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton had visited. Sanders endorsed a slate of candidates in Los Angeles including George Gascón and Holly Mitchell.

"It is now seen that you have to get involved in L.A. politics to be involved in national Democratic politics," Sonenshein said. "Whatever happens in the national race, California is now a major player in Democratic politics like it never [has been]."

Mitchell, running against incumbent Herb Wesson for an L.A. County Supervisor seat, is winning by a significant margin.

"It's a sign of the evolving politics of L.A. There's a younger, multiracial constituency of social justice advocates that is very much influenced by young women activists," Sonenshein said.

If Mitchell is elected, the County supervisors will be all women. It's shifted from a time when there would be maybe one woman on the Board of Supervisors, with the board also becoming more liberal.

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Prop 25 Fails: California Voters Reject Initiative To Replace Cash Bail System

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(Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist)

California voters have rejected an initiative that would have largely replaced the cash bail system, according to the Associated Press.

Proposition 25 would have upheld a state law passed last year that ended pre-trial detention and cash bail for people accused of most misdemeanors. Those accused of the most violent and serious crimes would have remained locked up.

For most crimes in between, a judge would have used a computerized risk-assessment system to determine whether a detainee posed a flight risk or a public safety risk. That assessment would not have taken into account how much money a person had.

READ OUR FULL STORY HERE:

Prop 25 Results: Voters Reject Statewide Initiative To Replace Cash Bail

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Prop 16 Fails: California's Affirmative Action Ban Stands

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Illustration by Chava Sanchez/LAist

Proposition 16 sought to overturn Proposition 209, the 1996 ballot measure that amended the California Constitution to ban the use of affirmative action at public universities and other public entities. Supporters argued that removing the ban would have allowed higher education to open the door wider for African American and Latino applicants.

"Our message basically was that ... government should not judge people based on their race, their skin color, their ethnicity or their ancestry," said Manuel Klausner, co-chairman of the No on 16 campaign.

"I think voter confusion was our biggest uphill battle," said Michele Siqueiros, a member of the Yes on 16 ballot measure committee.

READ OUR FULL STORY HERE:

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Morning Briefing: Election 2020: What We Know So Far

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Early morning fog at the Forum vote center in Inglewood on Election Day 2020. (Sharon McNary/LAist)

Good morning, L.A.

Yesterday was nothing short of historic, with record-shattering numbers of votes being tallied from people who filled out mail-in ballots or went to a voting center in person. In L.A., many were surprised by how smooth their experience at the polls was: “It was extremely important … and it was the easiest, quickest process,” said first-time voter Diana Potikyan, who cast her ballot at Impressions Banquet Hall in downtown Glendale.

Votes are still being counted for L.A.’s most-watched elections, including the races for District Attorney between Jackie Lacey and George Gascón, for Katie Hill’s former Congressional seat, and for L.A. City Council’s District 4 seat between Nithya Raman and David Ryu. At the national level, the race for President of the United States remains undecided.

It will likely be a while before all the votes are tallied, but below are preliminary results that we’ll keep updating throughout the days to come.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie


And The Count Goes On ...

It’s official: Southern California shattered voting records this year (although getting final results may take some extra time). Voters turned out first thing yesterday morning, from Inglewood to South Pasadena to Norwalk. Here’s why. And here’s what we know so far about local, state and national results:

In L.A.

Statewide Propositions

  • Prop 15: The Property Tax 'Split Roll' Initiative
  • Prop 16: To Bring Back Affirmative Action
  • Prop 20: To Toughen Some Criminal Penalties
  • Prop 22: To Make App-Based Drivers Contractors
  • Prop 25: To End Cash Bail

U.S. Congress

President of the U.S.

Stay tuned throughout the day (and possibly week) as we keep these results updated, along with expert analysis about how they’ll affect day-to-day life. And if you just want to shut your brain off for a while? We’ve got you covered for that, too.


Photo of the Day

Signs appear in many languages at the entrance to the Elysian Masonic Temple vote center in Los Feliz.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This post was updated at 6 a.m. on Nov. 4 to reflect the latst polling results.


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