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Polls open in California election that could tip balance of power


In addition to casting ballots for president and U.S. Senate, California voters Tuesday will decide several statewide initiatives affecting the fate of school funds, death-row inmates and the political influence of labor unions.

They will also choose candidates in congressional and legislative races that could help tip the balance of power in Washington and Sacramento.

Polling stations open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. Locations can be found through county elections offices.

Elections officials said voters who received mail-in ballots and have not submitted them should drop them off at the nearest polling place in their county, or at the county elections office (it's too late to mail them now).

INTERACTIVE: 2012 California Propositions

This election will be among the most competitive in recent history for many of California's 53 congressional seats, some of which Democrats hope to win in their uphill effort to retake control of the House.

And voters will pick winners for 100 seats in the California Legislature. Democrats hope to win a two-thirds supermajority in state Senate, which would put the party halfway to its goal of nearly absolute power over California's policies and finances.

A two-thirds vote of each house is required in Sacramento to raise taxes and overturn gubernatorial vetoes, among other actions. Neither party is expected to win a supermajority in the Assembly, however.


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Photo: Their silhouettes visible through the sheer fabric of an American flag, voters line up outside a polling place at the Cetacean Society building on Point Fermin in San Pedro. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

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