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With the recall election less than two weeks away, the mail ballot returns so far show that more than twice as many Democrats have voted than Republicans and that liberal areas of the state such as the Bay Area have the highest rates of return, according to state officials and political data researchers.

The early numbers provide good news for Gov. Gavin Newsom. But they also show his weaknesses and what his campaign must do between now and election day on Sept. 14 — turn out young and Latino voters — key parts of the coalition he needs to stay in office but notoriously difficult populations to mobilize in nonpresidential elections.

“If I am the Newsom campaign, I have to feel good about these numbers, but I think it’s a big mistake for them to be overly optimistic,” said Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data Inc. “The remaining task ahead has to look steep — you’re starting to look at voters who are really challenging to turn out…. And if this represents Republicans holding onto their ballots and waiting to vote at the polls, then we can be in for some real shifting in numbers.”

The ballot-tracking details in this story are drawn from the secretary of state’s office as well as Mitchell’s firm and L2, two political data companies that analyze state and county election voter information as well as consumer and other data sources to provide analysis of the electorate.

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