California vote key to presidential race

February 5, 2008 1:49:17 PM PST
Polls are open in California and voters could make history today. There could be over a million more people out then the record set in 2000. There could be close to 9 million voters today.

Voting officials warn to expect long lines at the polls. They suggest you mark your sample ballot and bring it with you for reference.

Another record could be for absentee voters; 2.2 million have already mailed back their ballots in California and those have been counted. Those results will be released at 8:00 pm tonight -- when the polls are closed, but final results may not be in until tomorrow. Registrars say a high number of last minute absentee ballots could delay the final tally.

California has the largest number of delegates at stake today:
  • 441 will be chosen to attend the Democratic national convention in Denver.
  • 173 will go to the Republican convention in Minneapolis.

Most will be chosen by Congressional district: for the Republicans, each of the state's 53 districts gets three delegates, winner-take-all.

The Democrats have a formula that allocates three to six delegates to each district, and they'll be divided among the candidates who get at least 15 percent of the vote in that district.

Other Democratic delegates will be apportioned based on the statewide vote, and still others will be Super delegates -- party leaders and office holders.