What you need to know about California’s recall election

Los Angeles, CA – California voters have an important question to answer next week: Should Governor Newsom stay or go? If voters decide to oust Governor Newsom, there are 46 candidates ready to take his place. 22 million voters will decide on Tuesday, September 14th. If you’re confused, you’re not alone. Here are a few of top questions California voters may have:

Why a recall?

Recall petitions circulate in California all the time! This was actually the sixth effort against Newsom during his term. As KQED politics and government editor Scott Shafer shared in a PBS interview, “The first five petered out and went away. This one was about to have the same fate, but then a judge gave them another 120 days, and then the governor ate dinner at a posh restaurant in Napa Valley, was videotaped not wearing a mask, at a time when he was telling everyone else to be home.”
This resulted in more than 1.6 million voters signing the recall petition and qualifying for ballot.

What does the recall mean for California?

It is a two-step process. First, Californians have to vote if either they want a recall (to remove Newsom) or if they want him to stay. If California’s vote for a recall, the next step is to choose a replacement among the 46 candidates.

Who are the candidates?

  • Leading in the polls is Larry Elder, a conservative African American radio host based in Los Angeles. Elder is the Republican front-runner and is far ahead of the 45 other replacement candidates.
  • Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is also in the race. Faulconer has distinguished himself by joining Newsom in targeting Republican candidate Larry Elder.
  • Following in the polls is Republican businessman John Cox, who lost against Newsom four years ago.

What are polls saying so far?

For the recall effort to succeed, over 50% of California voters need to vote YES. The latest poll by the Public Policy Institute indicates that only 39% of people would vote YES on the recall, while 58% would vote NO.

Going a step further, I asked 20 California voters regarding their opinion on the matter. In their majority, their responses included confusion and indifference. 

Alicia Perez, 28, says, “I am 50/50. If I am honest, I don’t think I have enough context to make an informed decision.” Just like Alicia, most of the interviewed shared confusion about this recall, especially of what events lead to wanting to take Newsom out of office.

Afraid of change, one third of people want to keep Newsom in office because he is a Democrat. Rocio Lopez, 59, shared, “I like Newsom, plus I want a Democrat to govern California.”

Lastly, remember to vote NO in your ballot if you want Newson to stay in power, and vote YES if you want to remove him from office. But either way, stay informed and vote!

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