With California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall underway, California residents have received vote-by-mail ballots or, if not, they will be arriving soon and in early voting date has begun. The 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election — which hasn’t occurred since the 2003 recall of Gray Davis (D), where Davis was voted out and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) — will take place on September 14.
Newsom was elected as governor in 2018 with 61.9 percent of the vote. Six recall petitions have been filed against Newsom since 2019.
According to CalMatters, the secretary of state certified on July 1, that recall supporters submitted 1,719,900 valid signatures.
Though a recall election is underway, Newsom can still hold on to his reins if more than 50 percent of voters vote against his removal. If the vote to recall exceeds 50 percent, then the candidate who receives the most votes will become California’s governor until the November 2022 election. Most sources show the supporters and opponents of the recall close to an even split, with the majority of voters undecided. CalMatters has also tracked the funds raised for either side of the recall.
The official petition for recall statement lists several reasons for desiring a recall, including the implementation of laws that are detrimental to the citizens of California, according to the statement. Recall supporters have also expressed opinions that Newsom did not do enough to address the State’s homelessness rate, supported sanctuary city policies, and a disliking for his water rationing. Other issues recall supporters face include Newsom’s COVID response regarding mask mandates, business closures, school closures, and other restrictions.
BallotPedia reports that Newsom said his leadership helped save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and that electing a replacement governor would hurt the State's recovery efforts. He highlighted the passage of the $100 billion California Comeback Plan, a coronavirus relief package that included individual stimulus payments and rental assistance, which a successor could block that type of legislation in the future.
In his comments for the official voter guide, Newsom called the recall "an attempt by national Republicans and Trump supporters to force an election and grab power in California."
In the guide, the voters will notice two main sections on the ballot. The first asks if Newsom shall be recalled. If voters wish to retain Newsom in office, they should vote ‘no’ and submit their ballot. If voters wish to see Newsom removed from office, they should vote ‘yes,’ on the other side of the ballot they proceed to select the candidate they wish to replace Newsom and submit the ballot.
The list of 46 candidates includes several republican and democratic candidates, in addition to those who have are no party preference, libertarian, or green party. There’s no limit to the number of candidates who can run to replace an official on a recall ballot. Majority vote is not required for a candidate to win.
According to BallotPedia, the candidates who have received the most media attention to date are YouTuber Kevin Paffrath (D), 2018 gubernatorial candidate John Cox (R), radio host Larry Elder (R), former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R), California State Board of Equalization member Ted Gaines (R), former Olympian and television personality Caitlyn Jenner (R), and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R).
The Imperial County Registrar of Voters (ROV) began mailing vote-by-mail ballots to all registered voters in Imperial County on August 16. Voters can track the mailing of their vote-by-mail ballot with Where’s My Ballot. Vote-by-mail ballots can be returned by mail, with no postage required, as long as it’s postmarked by election day.
Vote-by-mail ballots can also be dropped off at ballot drop boxes, which are open 24/7, at the following locations:
- County Administration Center, West Parking Lot, 940 West Main Street, El Centro
- Brawley City Hall, 400 Main Street, Brawley
- Calexico City Hall, 608 Heber Avenue, Calexico
- Imperial City Hall, 400 South Imperial Avenue, Imperial
- Any polling place on election day