What happens after a recall election?
Californians will go to the polls on 14 September to decide the fate of Gov. Newsom, but one challenger is already crying foul, claiming voter fraud.
Californians will go to the polls on 14 September to decide the fate of Governor Gavin Newsom. If a majority vote “No”, which the polling would indicate is the way a large percentage of voters in the state are leaning, he’ll stay put. His detractors could try again, but the governor is up for reelection in 2022.
However, should the polling be off, and a majority Californians vote “Yes” Newsom will be out on the street. The result should be known by the end of election night but that may not be the end of it.
Allegations of fraud before ballots are cast
The leading Republican candidate, right-wing pundits and former President Donald Trump are already trying to cast doubt on the results in a repeat of the “big lie” that followed the 2020 presidential election. Larry Elder who is the top of the pack to replace Governor Newsom should he lose the recall vote told CNN that he believes there will be “shenanigans" without providing any evidence.
He has also created a link on his campaign website to report voter fraud and let people sign a petition to investigate the results of the recall. He said he has also formed an “Integrity Board” with lawyers on board to investigate possible fraud or other irregularities. These moves are in vain, only reporting issues to Secretary of State office will result in an official investigation.
Even if Elder does try to take his accusations of voter fraud to the courts, it is unlikely to hold up the final result. His lawyers would most likely not want to take any unfounded claims of fraud into court as happened after the 2020 presidential election due to the legal jeopardy it would mean for them. A Michigan judge recently requested that disciplinary bodies investigate whether the pro-Trump lawyers should have their law licenses revoked over “historic and profound abuse of the judicial process."
The results aren’t final until they are certified
Even though the results will be known on election night they won’t be official until the California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber certifies the vote. County elections officials have 30 days to tally the ballots cast and on the 38th day after the election, if the recall is successful, the new governor would be sworn in to serve out the rest of Governor Newsom's term which finishes 2 January 2023.
If the long shot result of Governor Newsom losing the recall came to fruition, the candidate with the most votes to replace him would become governor. Each state that allows for recalling a governor has a different process for who becomes the next governor. In California the candidate who gets a plurality of the vote wins, which would be Elder according to the polls.
In a plurality of the vote, the candidate with the most votes wins, even if they don’t get over 50 percent of the votes cast. Current polls show Elders getting less than 30 percent of the vote out of likely voters. Whoever the winner is, they would assume office after the certification of the vote.