By Wilson Walker

MARTINEZ (KPIX) — Election Day in California now signals the end of “election month.” The evolving election process has changed the way some people vote, and it will certainly change the way results unfold Tuesday night.

“I feel like you go and vote in person and you sort of see what kind of people are showing up,” said a voter in Martinez named J.T. “You must get an idea of how the election might turn out, maybe. A better idea of what the atmosphere is like.”

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For die-hard Election Day voters there were options: they could hit a drop box, hand it off from their car, or cast their vote the old-fashioned way.

“I just go in person, no matter what, my whole life since I turned 18,” said Paul Delay.

“That’s how I feel,” said Angela Carter. “Today is Election Day, and I’m voting on Election Day. Not election month, not election week, not election overnight.”

But like many places in California, the bulk of the voting in Contra Costa County has already happened.

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“We got the amount that comes in from our in-person early voting sites, and this is each one of our drop boxes and how many ballots are picked up at each one of them every day,” said Contra Costa Clerk-Recorder Debi Cooper.

Contra Costa County already passed the 50% turnout mark with ballots returned before Tuesday.

“Yeah, voters have been awesome turning in their ballots early so we are able to process them and get them ready for the election day count,” explained Cooper.

In fact, just about every one of those ballots — 360,000 or so — have already been opened up, verified, and processed. So at 8 p.m., one simple computer command will total up all of those votes in an instant, delivering a huge portion of the total vote right out of the gate.

“And the constituents will get to know the results much sooner,” said Cooper.

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Every county manages elections its own way, but early voting — with a lot of ballots already processed — will play out across California. That means voters will see a pretty large sample of the results not long after polls close at 8 p.m.