California Elections Code
Before any election, the governing body of the jurisdiction holding the election shall decide that certain offices or measures to be voted on are of more than ordinary public interest and require an early tabulation and announcement. The decision shall be transmitted to the elections official not less than 30 days before the election.
The elections official shall prepare and forward to each selected precinct forms containing a list of the offices and measures designated as being of more than ordinary interest, and stating the number of ballots to be counted for the snap tally. In each general election, the special form shall, for each office listed on it, include the names of all candidates for that office whose names appear on the ballot.
The inspector at each selected precinct shall note the results of the count and the total number of votes cast in the precinct on the snap tally forms as soon as the designated number of ballots has been tallied. The inspector shall then communicate the figures in the manner directed by the elections official. In each general election, the figures shall include the votes cast for every candidate whose name appears on the ballot for an office listed on the forms. The inspector shall continue, each time the designated number of ballots have been tallied, to note and report the results as directed.
Upon receipt from the precincts of the reports of votes cast on the specially designated offices and measures, the elections official shall tabulate the results and make the results available to the public. In each general election, all these reports of the election results shall include the votes cast for all candidates whose names appear on the ballot for each office for which returns are reported.
If ballots are counted by means of electronic, electromechanical, or punchcard device, the elections official may provide for early tabulation and announcement of the returns in a manner consistent with the use of the tabulating devices.