What's at stake in today's much-anticipated election

Voters take part in early ballot casting at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in Norwalk on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, 2016.
Voters take part in early ballot casting at the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in Norwalk on Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, 2016.
Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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After months of watching one of the most contentious presidential contests in the country's history, California voters will finally head to the polls today to cast votes for president, U.S. senator, local races and a host of far-reaching measures.

In all, there are 17 statewide ballot measures and a range of county and municipal issues on which voters will cast ballots. Los Angeles County has about 60 local measures for the county and its municipalities and Orange County has about 30. They include dozens of school bond measures, sales tax proposals and changes to land use. 

Voters should expect lengthy wait times at many polling locations. L.A. county election officials saw two weekends in a row of long lines for early voting, with some voters waiting up to four hours to cast early ballots. In Orange County, new vote centers have also seen heavy turnout.

Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said the length of this year's ballot means the process of voting is slow. During test runs, some voters took up to 20 minutes to vote to get through the entire ballot if they were unprepared. Prepared voters took about 8 1/2 minutes to vote.

Officials advise voters to avoid the peak times at the polls, generally before and after work hours. 

Given GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's call for his supporters to monitor the polls, election officials and some groups are bracing for possible confrontations at voting locations. 

Trump's California campaign will be deploying its volunteers to monitor polling locations in several locations, including those in Riverside and L.A. county. 

Asian Americans Advancing Justice California, a nonpartisan group that advocates for Asians and voting rights, plans to send 600 trained volunteers to polling places in 25 counties statewide, including Riverside and Orange. The primary purpose is to help voters with limited English proficiency get through the voting process. But the volunteers are also trained to monitor for any harassment of voters, among other issues.

Remember, if you live in L.A. county, you can look up your polling location and sample ballot information here. For contact information covering other county election offices, the Secretary of State has a list on its website.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., but if you are in line by 8 p.m., you will be allowed to vote. 

If you are casting a vote by mail ballot, make sure it is postmarked by today, Nov. 8. L.A. county vote by mail ballots require one postage stamp.

If you requested a vote by mail ballot but have not received it, you must go to a polling location and vote provisionally. All provisional ballots will be counted if the voter is properly registered.

If you have any questions or run into problems with voting, you can call or text KPCC's Human Voter Guide hotline. The phone number is 323-538-5722. 

If you need help researching how to vote, check out KPCC's Voter Guide.

For an overview of election information and help, visit KPCC's Voter Game Plan page