By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — The number of early votes cast in Orange County has been huge.

As of Monday, a record 1.1 million ballots had been received, a 140% increase over the same time period in the 2016 election.

“Well, the good news is that, as of midnight tonight, we will have everything ready to process at 8:05 [p.m.] tomorrow,” Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley said. “So everything that we’ve received through the mail, drop boxes and turned in person.”

In past elections, early voter returns would not have been released so quickly after the polls close, but Kelley said he worried about voting during a pandemic and doubled his office’s capacity to process and count ballots, resulting in an overwhelming calm in the warehouse ahead of election night.

“We probably would have been a few days behind, so the fact that we can keep that deck cleared every single day is a huge advantage, especially for people that are anxious and want those results,” he said.

As long as ballots are postmarked on or before Nov. 3, Kelley said they would be counted. The registrar’s office has 30 days to certify the election results, but he said he expects Orange County’s results will be certified before Thanksgiving.

Kelley also said he expects the first results out of Orange County to be announced shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday.

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