CA gubernatorial recall election: a voter’s guide

CA gubernatorial recall election: a voter’s guide

By Ariel Butler

On Sept. 14, California voters will decide whether to keep Governor Gavin Newsom in office.

The petition to recall Newsom was created in February 2020 by the California Patriot Coalition and garnered over 2.1 million signatures. 1.5 million signatures are needed to trigger a recall election. In California’s history, only one other recall petition has made it to an election.

In 2003, Governor Gray Davis was voted out of office and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Recall elections seldom make it to the ballot and are significant when they do. Emily Quiñonez, ASI Student Government’s Director of External Affairs and a senior majoring in Chicana/o studies and political science, shared: “Just like any election, it is important that students raise their voice and do their part in participating in the election, whether it be through voting or educating others on current elections.”

The latest polls show 50.6% in favor of keeping Newsom in office, while 46.3% support removing Newsom. The latest poll numbers reported by FiveThirtyEight can be seen here:

When Is the Deadline to Register to Vote?

You must be a registered voter to vote in the recall election. The deadline to register to vote was Aug. 30. However, California offers same-day voter registration. You can register to vote at Additionally, conditional registration forms can be requested at voting locations if you are not registered by the election date. A driver’s license, California ID or social security card is necessary in order to complete a conditional registration form on the day of the election.

How Can I Vote?

Registered voters will be sent an official election ballot and will be able to vote by mail. The ballots may be dropped off at a designated drop-box, sent back in the mail or dropped off at a polling location on Sept. 14 before 8 p.m. Ballot drop-box locations near you can be searched here:

Voters will also be able to vote in-person on election day. A full list of in-person voting locations in Ventura County can be found here:

How Do I Fill Out My Ballot?

The official election ballot includes the following:

Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?

Regardless how you voted on the first question, you can vote for a replacement candidate.

For the first question, you will either fill in “Yes” or “No.” A vote “Yes” means you are voting to recall Newsom, while a vote “No” means you would like for him to remain in office. Next, you can choose from the list of 46 candidates. You may also leave the second question blank. Your vote will still count if you answer just the first question.

Quiñonez explained, “Regardless of your choice to the first question, you can choose a replacement candidate, which is really important to ensure that your voice is being heard whether the governor is replaced or not.” 

How Will the Election be Decided and When Will We Know the Results?

The recall election will be determined by majority vote, meaning that if over 50% of voters answer “Yes” on the recall, Newsom will be replaced. Over two million ballots have already been returned, so we may have an idea of the results as soon as a day after the election. 38 days following the election, the results will be certified.

Although millions of ballots have already been submitted by California residents, the remaining ballots and votes cast from now until Sept. 14 may very well sway the results of the election. Make sure your voice is heard by sending in your ballot, or visiting the polls on election day!

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