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Newsom Recall Basics: How to Vote in California’s Election
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By CalMatters
Published 3 years ago on
August 6, 2021

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Here are the answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the upcoming recall election.

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.

Will There Be Any State Measures on the Ballot?

No.

Isn’t There an Election for Governor in 2022?

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

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.

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