The California Recall election has been a contentious and high-pressure event for over a year, since its first announcement in Feb. 2020. Now, the deadline has finally arrived for en election that could shake up the future of California.
The recall election asks voters just two questions, with 46 replacement candidates aiming to take Gov. Gavin Newsom's job:
- Should Newsom be recalled?
- If the recall passes, who should be his replacement?
If more than 50% of voters vote "yes" on the first question, the next highest polling candidate will take on the job, regardless of how many voters voted for them.
The state began sending out ballots to registered voters on Aug. 16, providing the option for constituents to return their ballots via mail, in-person at polling places and drop-boxes, or in-person at voting locations from now through Sept. 14.
Approximately 28% of ballots have already been cast by registered voters, amounting to just 6.1 million Californians. Compared to the general election and presidential election in Nov. 2020, those numbers aren't far off, with just 29% of Californians voting up to a week in advance of Election Day.
According to California's Public Policy Institute Vice President Paul Mitchell, however, there is still a fair amount of work to be done among many polling groups, even if Newsom's ousting seems unlikely at this point.
“Democrats, young people and Latinos are underperforming relative to the 2020 General,” he said. “But, again, that’s not really the required mark – the recall effort will need a much deeper tanking from these more progressive parts of the electorate, and a simultaneous spike in Republican turnout, to be successful.”
Many voters name COVID-19 as the major issue for which way they're voting. Newsom has been fairly stringent in his statewide mandates to protect Californians from COVID-19, but has also faced a great deal of criticism from small business owners, essential workers in the food industry, and Republicans. A birthday party at Yountville's the French Laundry in Nov. 2020 also led to wide criticism across the state, especially as COVID-19 surges continued through the fall and winter months.
In his recent bid to ensure he is not recalled, Newsom has called upon some big-name Democrats for their support, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former California senator and Vice President Kamala Harris, and former presidential candidate and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Those endorsements seem to have helped, with recent polling from U.C. Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies showing 60.1% of likely voters planning to vote no on the recall.
Yet, the final result will really depend entirely on the turnout, as evident from the Nov. 2020 and Nov. 2016 general elections.
Learn where your polling place is in Santa Clara County and more information about the ballot via the County Registrar of Voters.