Emily Jo Cureton, The Triplicate

About 25 percent of Del Norte County voters have already put the general election behind them, casting ballots by mail instead of heading to the polls next Tuesday.

In total, 56 percent of 12,520 voters in this county opted to participate in the election by mail, according to County Clerk Alissia Northrup.

"Make sure any vote-by-mail ballots are in this office (981 H St.) or dropped off at any polling place by the election date. Postmarks don't count," said Northrup.

The number of voters statewide casting mail-in ballots this year is expected to outstrip 2008, when about 42 percent of California ballots cast in the presidential election were sent by mail. By comparison, 25 percent voted by mail in 2000.

The state distributed 8.9 million mail-in ballots this election cycle, about 20 percent more than were requested in 2008.

On Wednesday, Northrup's office began opening Del Norte's mail ballot envelopes to prime them for counting after the polls close on Tuesday.

Mail ballots take longer to count because elections workers must compare the signature on the mailed envelope with the one on that voter's registration card.

If enough people wait until the last minute to turn in their ballots, it could mean some contests might not be decided by bedtime on Election Day.

Ballot initiatives expected to cut it close include Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to raise the statewide sales tax and increase income taxes on the wealthy to help close the state's budget deficit.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. A list of polling places by precinct is listed on Page A8 of this newspaper.

Both Democratic and Republican Party headquarters will host get-togethers to await results on Election night.

County Democratic Headquarters is at 1044 Highway 101 North. The County Republican Party's headquarters is on Third and I streets in downtown Crescent City.

District 1 County Supervisor Leslie McNamer said she will be awaiting results at her campaign headquarters at 280 I Street, just a hop and a skip from the Republican Party's shin-dig.

Gitlin said he'll either be at the Elections Office or at Republican headquarters.

The race between McNamer and challenger Roger Gitlin is running off from a June three-way contest, which has been rolling since March.

Meanwhile, general election fatigue seems to be sweeping the nation. Even the children are frazzled, as shown in a YouTube video that went viral Tuesday, in which a 4-year-old Colorado girl bawls and cries "because I'm tired of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney," incessant topics on the radio she hears at home and in the car.

National Public Radio released an apology to Abigael Evans the next day:

"On behalf of NPR and all other news outlets, we apologize to Abigael and all the many others who probably feel like her. We must confess, the campaign's gone on long enough for us, too. Let's just keep telling ourselves: "Only a few more days, only a few more days, only a few more days."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Reach Emily Jo Cureton at ecureton@triplicate.com.