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This isn’t your parents’ Election Day.

Back then, people used to actually go to the polls to cast a vote. These days, people use their mailboxes to send in their choices beforehand. While this trend portends a sad decline in the awesome “I Voted” stickers, it also allows us to know a lot about what’s happening in elections before the polls even open Tuesday morning.

File photo by Megan Burks

Based on an analysis of the ballots being returned locally by Vince Vasquez, a senior analyst at the National University System Institute for Policy Research, here are three things we know already about Tuesday’s election.

Peters Has an Uphill Climb

The most contested election locally is the 52nd District congressional race between Democratic Rep. Scott Peters and Republican Carl DeMaio. The campaign has attracted more than $10 million in spending from both sides because it’s one of the few House races in the country where party registration in the district is evenly divided.

What’s not even is who is turning in their ballots.

Vasquez’ analysis shows that Republicans hold a 9 percent edge in ballots returned in the district over Democrats, a difference of almost 8,000 votes. Granted, there’s another 21 percent of ballots returned from independents, but they’d have to break substantially in Peters’ direction to close that gap. Vasquez also shared some thoughts about the race on Twitter.

This November is decidedly a GOP gameboard. If Peters wins, it’s because he made serious inroads w/ voters, beat DeMaio on his own turf.

— Vince Vasquez (@VinceVasquezSD) November 3, 2014

Old People Are Deciding This Election

If you’re reading this and you’re older than 55, you’ve probably voted. If you’re not, you probably haven’t.

Voters older than 55 make up roughly 40 percent of the San Diego electorate. But Vasquez’ analysis shows that they’ve returned more than 70 percent of the ballots countywide so far. Traditionally, Vasquez notes, younger voters cast their ballots later on, so their percentages tend to increase. But Vasquez has tracked early voting in the 52nd District on a daily basis and hasn’t seen younger voters making inroads.

There’s a Good Chance We’ll Know the Outcome in Local Races Early On

Vasquez estimates that more than 70 percent of the votes cast in San Diego will be from mail ballots rather than in-person votes at Election Day polling stations.

That means the bulk of the returns will be in the first results released by the county Registrar of Voters when polls close at 8 p.m. Unless the races are very close, we’re unlikely to see any top races switching sides throughout the evening.

Liam Dillon

Liam Dillon was formerly a senior reporter and assistant editor for Voice of San Diego. He led VOSD’s investigations and wrote about how regular people...

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