Note: This article first appeared on Crosstown and is shared with their permission in partnership with Los Angeleno. You can subscribe to Crosstown for crime, traffic and air quality news here.
Los Angeles has no electoral votes, but it cast more ballots than 38 states.
When it comes to presidential elections, the power of California is both obvious and taken for granted. The Golden State’s 55 electoral votes, which alone provide more than 20% of the 270 needed to win, reliably go to the Democratic Party candidate, and by a comfortable margin. According to the office of Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Joe Biden claimed 63.8% of the more than 16.5 million ballots cast in California. Donald Trump got 34%.
In fact, the 10.7 million votes Biden earned in California accounts for more than one out of eight of the 78.6 million that the now president-elect received in the entire United States.
Generally overlooked is Los Angeles’ outsized role in the electoral process. Although candidates of both parties flock here to raise money, its impact on votes is even greater. Examining data from the Trump-Biden battle reveals that residents of Los Angeles County alone cast more ballots than were tabulated in 38 states and Washington, D.C.
As of Friday, Nov. 13, 4,261,742 votes had been cast and processed in the county, according to the office of Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan. That is more votes, according to New York Times election data tracking, than had been tabulated in the battleground state of Arizona (11 electoral votes, 3,381,446 ballots processed). It is more than three times the number of ballots cast in Nevada (6 electoral votes, approximately 1.34 million total votes).
Los Angeles County, with approximately 10 million residents, has 5.8 million registered voters, according to Logan’s office. This year, the spread of the coronavirus prompted Padilla in early October to send ballots to every voter in the state. Despite concerns about the reliability of the United States Postal Service, nearly 80% of voters in the county participated by mail.
Ballots in the county can be tabulated as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3 and are received by Nov. 20. Final results will not be known until the county figures are certified later this month.
Los Angeles County’s support for Biden exceeds that of the state as a whole. The president-elect has garnered 71.2% of the vote in the county, while Trump has 26.77% (a small portion was divided among a quartet of fringe candidates).
If Los Angeles Were a State
The local figures pose an interesting question: How many Electoral College votes might Los Angeles County hold if it were its own entity?