All California voters this week will begin to receive their sample ballots for the upcoming gubernatorial recall election on Sept. 14, with official ballots to be mailed out to every voter beginning Aug. 16.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom will face the possibility of being removed from office and replaced by one of 46 candidates eyeing to become California’s 41st governor. If not recalled, Newsom will remain in office until he is on the ballot again for re-election during next year’s midterms.
On April 26, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber said all signatures to recall Newsom were verified. By July 1, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis ordered the election to be held on Sept. 14.
Following the recall law’s passage in 1911, there have been 54 attempts to recall a governor. Democrat Gray Davis was the first California governor to be recalled in 2003 and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who ran again in 2006 and served as governor until 2011.
A recall becomes qualified once a number of signatures equal to 12% of the 2018 gubernatorial vote are verified by county elections officials, according to the California secretary of state’s website. This threshold was met with the petition to recall Newsom.
Sample ballots also alert voters as to the recall election’s price tag, with a cost estimated to be $276 million.
What is on the ballot?
The ballot will request voters to make two choices: first, “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of governor?” and second, “Candidates to succeed Gavin Newsom as governor if he is recalled: vote for ONE.”
A majority of 50% of voters answering “Yes” to the first question guarantees the candidate with the most votes – regardless how few votes the top candidate has – will serve out the remaining year of Newsom’s first term as governor until Jan. 23, 2023, according to the secretary of state’s website. The new governor would take the oath of office once all votes are certified on the 38th day after the election. Were over 50% of voters to choose “No,” the governor will continue to serve his term.
The secretary of state’s website clarifies that voters can choose “No” but still vote for a replacement candidate. Essentially, this would provide a contingency for anti-recall voters in case there are not enough “No” votes to keep Newsom in office.
Who will be on voters’ ballots?
The following candidates – in the order they appear on the ballot but divided here by political affiliation – have all been certified by Weber to be on the ballot.
The filing requirements to be on the ballot included a declaration of candidacy and nomination papers with 65-100 valid signatures and either a $4,194.94 filing fee or a minimum of 7,000 valid signatures, according to the secretary of state’s website.
Update: On Aug. 15, former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Sacramento) was treated at Mercy General Hospital for a heart attack, according to a campaign press release issued Tuesday.
“While I’m told I should expect a full recovery, additional procedures and potentially surgery are required, and it has become clear that I must focus my attention on rehabilitation and healing,” he said in the statement. “Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do. It is what is: my campaign for governor is over.”
Among the 46 names on the ballot, it includes the following Republicans with their chosen professions next to their names:
- John Cox, businessman/accountant/father
- Nickolas Wildstar, musician/entrepreneur/father
- Sarah Stephens, pastor
- Denver Stoner, deputy sheriff
- Joe M. Symmon, community volunteer
- Doug Ose, farmer/small businessman (Dropped from the race Aug. 17)
- Chauncey “Slim” Killens, retired correctional officer
- Kevin Kiley, California legislator
- Anthony Trimino, entrepreneur/CEO
- Kevin L. Faulconer, businessman/educator
- Rhonda Furin, nonprofit president
- Robert C. Newman II, farmer/psychologist
- Sam L. Gallucci, pastor/CEO/consultant
- Ted Gaines, Board of Equalization member
- Caitlyn Jenner, businessperson/entrepreneur
- Leo S. Zacky, businessman/farmer
- Jenny Rae Le Roux, business owner/mother
- David Lozano, executive officer/attorney
- Steve Chavez Lodge, retired homicide detective
- Diego Martinez, businessman
- Daniel Mercuri, father/business owner
- David Alexander Bramante, realtor/multifamily developer
- David Hillberg, aircraft mechanic/actor
- Larry A. Elder, broadcaster/author
Due to his campaign missing the deadline to include his party affiliation on the ballot, Newsom’s party affiliation as a Democrat was ruled to be excluded by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James Arguelles. As he is being recalled, Newsom cannot by election law succeed himself.
Besides the governor, Democrats on the ballot include:
- Daniel Watts, free speech lawyer
- Patrick Kilpatrick, actor/screenwriter/producer
- Joel Ventresca, retired airport analyst
- Brandon M. Ross, physician/attorney
- Jacqueline McGowan, cannabis policy advisor
- Holly L. Baade, mother/business owner
- John R. Drake, college student
- Kevin Paffrath, financial educator/analyst
- Armando “Mando” Perez-Serrato (profession not listed)
No-party preference candidates include:
- Major Singh, software engineer
- Kevin K. Kaul, real estate developer
- Dennis Richter, retail store worker
- Michael Loebs, university lecturer
- Denis Lucey, teacher
- Jeremiah “Jeremy” Marciniak (profession not listed)
- David Moore, public school teacher
- Angelyne, entertainer
- James G. Hanink, retired educator
- Adam Papagan, entertainer
The remaining candidates on the ballot include Green Party candidates Heather Collins, business owner/hairstylist, and criminal defense attorney Dan Kapelovitz. Libertarian candidate and Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Hewitt rounds out the 46 candidates on ballots.
Party endorsements were limited to the American Independent Party’s endorsement of Elder and the Libertarian Party’s endorsement of Hewitt.
“The Democratic, Green, Peace and Freedom and Republican parties did not submit any endorsements for this office,” the sample ballot reads.
Am I registered to vote?
Voters can go to voterstatus.sos.ca.gov for verification. If not registered, Californians have until Aug. 30 to register or can apply for same-day registration at an election office, vote center or polling place between Aug. 31 and Sept. 14.
How soon can I vote?
Once voters receive their ballots in the mail beginning Aug. 16, they can fill out and mail ballots as soon as they receive it.
What if I need a ballot in a language other than English?
California ballots are offered in 10 different languages. Contact county election officials and visit sos.ca.gov/election/voting-california.
Where does my mail-in ballot go?
Voters can submit their ballots at vote centers, mailboxes (with no stamps required) or mail-in drop boxes located across Los Angeles County. For Santa Clarita Valley voters, drop boxes provided by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk are located at:
- 29310 Sand Canyon Road, Canyon Country, CA 91387
- 28580 Hasley Canyon Road, Castaic, CA 91384
- 31230 Castaic Road, Castaic, CA 91384
- 22122 Soledad Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91350
- 23743 West Valencia Boulevard, Santa Clarita, CA 91355
- 27285 Seco Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91350
- 28127 Wellston Drive, Santa Clarita, CA 91350
- 28151 Whites Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91351
- 18601 Soledad Canyon Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91351
- 24500 Main Street, Santa Clarita, CA 91321
- 24247 Village Circle, Valencia, CA 91354
- 27223 Henry Mayo Drive, Valencia, CA 91355
- 25600 Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381
- 10700 Escondido Canyon Road , Agua Dulce, CA 91350
- 3751 Syracuse Avenue, Acton, CA 93510
Voters can track their mail-in ballots by signing up on wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov.
Where do I go to vote in person?
Update: If voters want to drop off their mail-in ballots or vote in person at a vote center, the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk now has the list of vote centers available. Santa Clarita Valley voters have the option of visiting any of the following locations to vote at.
- 24151 Newhall Ave, Newhall, CA 91321
- 20880 Centre Pointe Pkwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91350
- 31230 Castaic Rd, Castaic, CA 91384
- 3748 Nickels Ave, Acton, CA 93510
Vote centers will be open from Sept. 4-13 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. and on Election Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Vote centers will utilize Ballot Marking Devices as seen in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Sample ballots also detail safety precautions voters must adhere to safeguard their health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
How am I to submit my ballot if I am homeless, displaced by natural disasters or in a medical emergency?
Unhoused voters can register to vote “as long as you have a location where you can receive mail and be properly assigned to a voting precinct,” according to a fact sheet on the secretary of state’s website. “You may register to vote at an address where you spend most of your time, such as a shelter.” The fact sheet recommends voters unable to use an address to “describe the location where you live so it is clear enough for your county elections official to find your voting precinct. You may use cross streets or a park as your address.”
Voters displaced by wildfires or other natural disasters cannot have their ballots forwarded, however they can change their mailing address to that of a family member or friend by contacting their local county elections office, according to another fact sheet provided by the secretary of state’s website.
If voters experiencing the above situations did not receive a mail-in ballot, they can still vote in person at a nearby vote center location.
Lastly, voters with medical emergencies on or before Election Day can request assistance with their ballot from anyone other than their employer or union representative, according to a different fact sheet provided by the secretary of state’s website. Voters unable to leave home, are hospitalized or in a care facility are to contact their county elections office and a team will come to assist them.
“Is my vote secure?”
Per the “Quick Facts” on vote.ca.gov: “Yes, California exceeds federal requirements for election security. Every vote must be cast on a paper ballot or have a voter verified paper audit trail. Voting equipment used to cast and count ballots must be certified for use in California and kept offline. Elections officials conduct post-election audits, including a manual tally of a sample of ballots, after every election to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the vote count. Voters can find official, trusted election information as well as learn more about our election security safeguards, and cybersecurity efforts at vote.ca.gov.”
For further information on the 2021 California Gubernatorial Recall Election, please go to https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/upcoming-elections/2021-ca-gov-recall.
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