By: Raymond Nava
California will head to the polls on September 14th to vote on whether to allow Governor Gavin Newsom to remain in office or if he should be recalled and replaced with another candidate.
This election will be the second governor recall election in California in the past 20 years. The last recall election of a governor was in 2003, when Democratic Governor Gray Davis was successfully recalled and replaced with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The recall was driven in part by republican dissatisfaction with Newsom for his liberal policies. The recall picked up steam in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Newsom instituted restrictions such as the lock-down and mask mandates that were viewed by some as unpopular.
In November of 2020, Newsom was caught dining with numerous people at “The French Laundry” restaurant in the middle of the pandemic despite recently instituting Covid-19 protocols limiting social gatherings.
This incident was viewed by some to be almost corrupt and seen as a big contributing factor in the recall petition becoming a success. Other non COVID-19 issues such as homelessness and the recent wildfires also spurred enthusiasm for the recall petition.
The recall election will feature two simple questions. The first is a straight forward “yes” to remove and replace or “no” to allow Gov. Newsom to remain in office.
The second question will ask who should replace Newsom if he were to be successfully recalled. There are 46 candidates from which voters can choose, and the candidate with the most votes will be elected governor if the “yes” option on question one wins.
Newsom is prevented from being a candidate to replace himself and is not an option on question two. Voters who vote “no” on question one are allowed to vote for a candidate on question two and it will not invalidate a “No” vote on question one. Voters can also choose to vote only on the second question while leaving question one blank.
Among the 46 candidates running to replace Newsom included are 2018 Republican candidate John Cox, Republican radio host Larry Elder, and finance YouTuber Kevin Paffrath who is running as a Democrat. According to the polls, Elder and Paffrath are the only candidates to poll in the double digits. Polling has shown Cox and all other candidates polling in the mid to low single digits.
Every voter has been mailed a vote by mail ballot and can choose to mail it in. Voters can also drop off their mail in ballot at any of the available drop boxes at any voting center in Los Angeles County. Unlike the 2020 primary and general election, East Los Angeles College will not serve as a voting center or have any drop boxes for the September 14 recall election.
Individuals who missed the registration deadline to vote can still register up till election day by going to their county’s election office or to any vote center in Los Angeles County. The polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on election day.