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Newsom recall basics: How to vote in California's election

What's on the ballot, who's on the ballot and how you go about casting your vote — all explained in two minutes.

CalMatters has compiled a FAQ on the California election on whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. There's some confusion and mixed messages on voting, so this can help sort things out.

When is the recall election?

Sept. 14, though local election offices must start sending out mail ballots by Aug. 16.

How do you vote?

Every registered voter will get a ballot in the mail. You can track your ballot — when it is mailed, when it's received once you vote and when it's counted — by signing up here.

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There will also be in-person polling sites that open Sept. 4, plus drop-off boxes, with the exact number depending where you live. You can check your registration status here and can update your registration here. The deadline to register is Aug. 30.

What will be on the ballot?

Two parts. The first requires a yes or no answer. It asks: "Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?"

A yes vote is against Newsom and is to kick him out of office. A no vote is for Newsom and to keep him as governor.

The second part allows you to pick one replacement candidate from a list. It says: "Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:"

The list doesn't include Newsom, so you can't vote for him.

Who is running to replace Gov. Newsom?

The final certified list of 46 includes Republican politicians, media celebrities, activists and Californians from all walks of life.

Can you write-in a replacement candidate?

Yes, and no. You can write in any name you want. But for your vote to count, it must be someone from the certified list. Write-in candidates have until Aug. 31 to file. Any write-in votes for Newsom also won't be counted.

What happens after the election?

If more than 50% of voters say no, Newsom continues as governor; his term ends on Jan. 2, 2023.

If more than 50% of voters say yes, Newsom will be removed from office. Then whoever has the most votes among the replacement candidates — no matter how few and even if they don't win a majority — will become governor in late October for the rest of Newsom's term.

Do you have to vote on both parts?

No, you can vote on just one or the other — and your vote still counts. For example, you can vote against removing Newsom on the first question, but also skip choosing a potential replacement (which is what Newsom and party leaders are telling Democrats to do).

But if I oppose recalling Newsom, can I still pick a replacement candidate?

Yes, a vote on the second question won't invalidate or affect your vote on the first.

Will there be any state measures on the ballot?

No.

Isn't there an election for governor in 2022?

Yes, voters will pick someone for a full four-year term in November 2022. Newsom is already running.

For more information, there is a FAQ from the secretary of state, and an official recall election calendar. For information on voting in Santa Clara County, visit sccvote.sccgov.org.

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Newsom recall basics: How to vote in California's election

by / CalMatters

Uploaded: Fri, Aug 20, 2021, 4:40 pm

CalMatters has compiled a FAQ on the California election on whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. There's some confusion and mixed messages on voting, so this can help sort things out.

When is the recall election?

Sept. 14, though local election offices must start sending out mail ballots by Aug. 16.

How do you vote?

Every registered voter will get a ballot in the mail. You can track your ballot — when it is mailed, when it's received once you vote and when it's counted — by signing up here.

There will also be in-person polling sites that open Sept. 4, plus drop-off boxes, with the exact number depending where you live. You can check your registration status here and can update your registration here. The deadline to register is Aug. 30.

What will be on the ballot?

Two parts. The first requires a yes or no answer. It asks: "Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?"

A yes vote is against Newsom and is to kick him out of office. A no vote is for Newsom and to keep him as governor.

The second part allows you to pick one replacement candidate from a list. It says: "Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:"

The list doesn't include Newsom, so you can't vote for him.

Who is running to replace Gov. Newsom?

The final certified list of 46 includes Republican politicians, media celebrities, activists and Californians from all walks of life.

Can you write-in a replacement candidate?

Yes, and no. You can write in any name you want. But for your vote to count, it must be someone from the certified list. Write-in candidates have until Aug. 31 to file. Any write-in votes for Newsom also won't be counted.

What happens after the election?

If more than 50% of voters say no, Newsom continues as governor; his term ends on Jan. 2, 2023.

If more than 50% of voters say yes, Newsom will be removed from office. Then whoever has the most votes among the replacement candidates — no matter how few and even if they don't win a majority — will become governor in late October for the rest of Newsom's term.

Do you have to vote on both parts?

No, you can vote on just one or the other — and your vote still counts. For example, you can vote against removing Newsom on the first question, but also skip choosing a potential replacement (which is what Newsom and party leaders are telling Democrats to do).

But if I oppose recalling Newsom, can I still pick a replacement candidate?

Yes, a vote on the second question won't invalidate or affect your vote on the first.

Will there be any state measures on the ballot?

No.

Isn't there an election for governor in 2022?

Yes, voters will pick someone for a full four-year term in November 2022. Newsom is already running.

For more information, there is a FAQ from the secretary of state, and an official recall election calendar. For information on voting in Santa Clara County, visit sccvote.sccgov.org.

CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California's policies and politics.

Comments

Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Aug 21, 2021 at 5:49 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2021 at 5:49 pm

If you find the recall process "confusing" you shouldn't be voting. It's very simple and straightforward.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 21, 2021 at 10:30 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Aug 21, 2021 at 10:30 pm

I am going to go to a designated place and vote - using a paper ballot. Not that computer. And I m going to get a number I cantrack to make sure that the vote is counted.


Janice Selznick
Registered user
College Terrace
on Aug 22, 2021 at 7:07 am
Janice Selznick, College Terrace
Registered user
on Aug 22, 2021 at 7:07 am


If you like what you see when you go to San Francisco, then vote against the recall.

If you liked the way small businesses were treated during the lockdowns, then vote against the recall.

If you thought it was a good idea that Californians were barred from going to beach last year, then vote against the recall.

If you think it’s good for there to be two sets of mask rules, one for the general public and another one for elites eating at the French Laundry, then vote against the recall.

If you like kids getting educated via Zoom, then vote against the recall.


Citizen
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2021 at 7:04 am
Citizen, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Aug 23, 2021 at 7:04 am

Vote NO.Just NO.

Do not reward Republicans who always create massive deficits and cut public services. Democratic governors incl. Newsom preside over surpluses, including Brown who turned the massive deficit left by the last Republican governor—brought to us by recall-into a surplus during the downturn.

As a CA disaster survivor, in a state prone to disasters: unequivocally,Republicans in state govt are a disaster for disaster survivors—insurance companies are not held to honor their contracts by Republicans. It destroys people’s lives and economic futures. Only Democratic administrations have a history of even trying to stand for policyholders.

If a Republican becomes governor, we get to be subject to the culture wars nastiness constantly attacking “the Left” in the news. If you’re tired of that, vote NO. We have real problems to deal with here.

If a Republican wins, then Biden can’t draw from CA for positions in DC without Republicans replacing them in a state level despite that being against the will of the vast majority of voters.

This isn’t about Newsom. It’s about Republicans using a special election in which there is historically low turnout to get a Republican in office, which then affords an incumbent advantage in the general election.

Getting a Republican governor in CA means they could replace US Senator Dianne Feinstein (who is now like 88 years older) with a Republican in Washington, suddenly shifting the balance of power in the US Congress against Democrats and putting us back into vindictive rightwing crazy land again in DC, hurting CA again nationally.

Middle class CA homeowners are still reeling from the almost surgical Trump tax increases on them.

Worse, it means all progress on infrastructure renewal and the climate crisis stops. We just have no more time for this.

CA is a majority democratic Democratic state. Vote NO to stop the Republican power grab.

Vote NO now; you get time to check online it was counted.


Diane Reklis
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Aug 23, 2021 at 11:27 am
Diane Reklis, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Aug 23, 2021 at 11:27 am

Please vote NO on the first question of the Recall Election.

We have 4-year terms for a reason. Elections distract our elected officials from their job of governing. If you are unhappy with Gavin Newsom's work, then get involved in next year's scheduled election and support a qualified candidate.

Meanwhile, demand that your state legislators reform California's recall system. If a recall is needed in the future, we deserve an orderly process that respects the will of the people.


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