Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Election Day has finally arrived.

First, the most important reminder: polls here in California open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. You can find your polling place via this link.

Still figuring out how to vote in those down-ticket races you haven't considered? Compare candidates and ballot-measure arguments with our Voter Guide.

We're guessing that 8 p.m. can't come soon enough for most of our Alert readers out there.

Political junkies are eagerly awaiting the results in the many close -- and costly -- contests on today's ballot. Others are just glad that their commercial breaks and mailboxes will soon get a break from all those political ads.

Even though President Barack Obama is expected to win handily in blue California, the fates of many down-ticket races and ballot measures are in play.

In addition to 11 statewide measures up for a vote, California is home to more competitive candidate races than in years past, thanks in part to the state's new political maps, drawn for the first time by a Citizens Redistricting Commission, and a new primary system that allows two members of the same party to face off on the fall ballot.

So what will we be tracking tonight? Here's a sample of some of the biggest questions heading into today's balloting:

•Will voters give a thumbs up to Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase? How will wealthy attorney Molly Munger's rival tax, Proposition 38, fare?
•Was labor's $66 million in campaign contributions and extensive ground game enough to hold off Proposition 32, which would make their ability to collect cash for political purposes more difficult?
•Will legislative Democrats hold a veto-proof supermajority in the state Senate for the first time in more than four decades?
•Which candidate will prevail in the dozens of competitive congressional and legislative races taking place across the state, including 28 featuring two members of the same party on the ballot?

We might not know all the answers tonight, especially in the closest contests. But we'll have you covered with what we do know throughout the day and night at sacbee.com.

The Bee's online election coverage, which begins at 7 a.m., will include Election Day dispatches from throughout the Sacramento region, exit polling about what voters were thinking as they cast their ballot, live chats with reporters on various issues and, of course, results. Returns from the East Coast should start trickling in after 3 p.m., while tallies of absentee ballots turned in ahead of Election Day should be available at sacbee.com shortly after the polls here close at 8 p.m.

While you're waiting, check out The Bee's Election Central for photo, video and news related to California campaigns.

Use our interactive map to predict the outcome of the presidential vote.

Join us at SacBee Live and tell us if you voted and report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace.

Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

FIELD POLL: The record 18.2 million Californians eligible to vote in today's election isn't expected to lead to an all-time high in turnout levels. Field is estimating that 12.7 million residents will participate in the balloting, about 1 million fewer voters than in 2008. Laurel Rosenhall has more on the prediction and what it could mean for California contests in today's Bee. The full release is available here.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell, R-Camarillo, celebrates his 42nd birthday today. It's probably safe to assume he's hoping voters gift him a second term in the lower house.

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