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When is the California Gubernatorial Recall Election? How will it work?

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a state-wide recall election on 14 September. Read more on how to vote, the ballot, and the contenders.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will face a state-wide recall election on 14 September. Read more on how to vote, the ballot, and the contenders.

After more than a year of leading the Golden State through the pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom's time in power may be coming to an end.  The California leader will face a recall election on 14 September.

Newsom is not alone in his subjugation to a recall election, Gov. Gray Davis faced a similar fate in 2003, leading to the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Voting Process and Ballots 

Last year that state passed a law that mandates mail-in ballots be sent to all registered voters for each election the state holds.

Registered voters in the Golden State began receiving ballots for the election on 16 August but will also have the chance to cast thier vote in person in just a few short weeks.

What will the ballot read?

The ballot will ask voters two questions:

  1. Do you want to recall Governor Newsom? 

  2.  If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him? 

The Governor will be allowed to remain in office if 50 percent or more of voters vote NO in response to the first question.

If the YES votes receive the majority, then the person with the most votes in regards to the second question will replace Gov. Newsom.

Voters can decide to respond to one, bother, or neither of the questions, depending on their preferences.

Who are the top contenders challenging Gov. Newsom?

Forty-six candidates have successfully qualified for the recall election. The majority are Republicans, with a sprinkling of Democrats, Greens, and non-affiliated individuals


According to the polling, the candidates that have gained the greatest popularity are Larry Elder (Republican), Kevin Paffrath (Democrat), and John H. Cox (Republican). Mr. Elder’s lead is more than double that of the next favored candidate.

Larry Elder is an attorney and conservative radio host based in Los Angles.

However, the most recent polling collected and reviewed by FiveThirtyEight, shows that Gov. Newsom is favored to win the recall.

The three polls conducted in August show:

  • Change Research -- Keep +12

  • YouGov -- Keep +4 

  • Survey USA -- Remove +9. 

While these results seem to show that Gov. Newsom is projected to remain in power, the faith of US voters in polls has decreased since the 2016 election.

Additionally, then-Governor Gray Davis was also poised to win his recall election and in the end, he was kicked out of the Governor’s Mansion by the voters.


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