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December 11, 2020
SOS Press Office
(916) 653-6575

Secretary of State Alex Padilla Certifies Record Setting General Election Results

SACRAMENTO, CA – Secretary of State Alex Padilla has certified the results of the November 3, 2020 General Election. The election set an all-time record for number of votes cast and reached modern highs for voter turnout and engagement.

Total registered voters (as of October 19, 2020)—a state record.

Total votes cast—a state record. This is 3,174,642 more votes than the previous record set during the November 2016 General Election.

Total vote-by-mail ballots cast—an all-time state record. This is the largest number of vote-by-mail ballots cast in any California election.

Turnout of registered voters. The highest since the 1976 General Election.

Turnout of the eligible voting age population. The highest since the 1952 General Election.

“I am grateful to all the elections officials and poll workers who stepped up during the COVID-19 pandemic — they helped maintain the resiliency of our democracy,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “Voting may have looked different this year, but it was important to provide Californians safe and convenient opportunities to exercise their right to vote while protecting their health. I would also like to thank the nearly 17.8 million Californians who voted in this election, a new record, many of whom answered our call to vote early.”

“Working together, California delivered an accessible, secure, and safe election during the COVID-19 pandemic by implementing several key measures. Every active registered voter received a ballot by mail in advance of the election and was also provided opportunities to vote early. Many counties deployed vote centers and ballot drop boxes to give voters even greater flexibility. Fortunately, we did not have to start from scratch, as many of the changes implemented for the General Election were based on the successful Voter’s Choice Act. The overwhelming success of the General Election proves the wisdom of California’s policies to increase access to the ballot and will certainly inform future initiatives to build an even more inclusive democracy,” Padilla added.

Click here for footage of Secretary Padilla signing the certification and providing comments in English.

Haga clic aquí para ver el video del Secretario Padilla firmando la certificación y proporcionando comentarios en español.

Historic General Election Voter Participation Statistics (2000-2020)








Total Votes Cast 







Turnout % of Registered Voters 







Turnout % of Eligible Population







Urgency legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic made this the first statewide election where every active, registered voter was mailed a ballot. Voters had the option of returning their ballots by mail (using a prepaid postage return envelope) or in-person at any official ballot drop box or voting location. A record 86.72% of ballots cast were vote-by-mail ballots. Click here to view historical vote-by-mail statistics.

Ballot Tracking
In 2020, The Secretary of State launched the “Where’s My Ballot?” tracking tool statewide. In less than a year, over 5 million California voters signed up to receive automated notifications about their vote-by-mail ballots by email, text (SMS), or voice call.


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