Today is the Final Day to Vote in the California Recall Election


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Photo: Getty Images

Today, September 14th, marks another historic election in California as voters head to the polls to decide Gov. Gavin Newsom's political fate. The effort to recall first-term Gov. Newsom finishes today with nearly 8 million mail-in ballots returned so far.

Voters have until tonight at midnight to return their ballot by mail or at a local voting center.

The ballot contains two questions:

1) Should Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled from office

2) Which candidate do you support replacing him?

If more than 50% of voters respond "no" to the first question, Newsom will serve out the rest of his term and the results of who might replace him rendered moot. If however, more than 50% of voters support recalling Newsom, the candidate who receives the most votes will replace Newsom. With dozens of candidates on the ballot, it's conceivable that a winner in the second question could receive 25% of less of the vote. More than 46 names are on the ballot, with seven other write in candidates. Twenty-four Republicans, nine Democrats, 10 independents, two Green Party members and one Libertarian are all vying for their chance to replace Newsom as governor.

Organizers of the recall effort have focused on Newsom's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, criticizing his lockdown measures as too restrictive, saying he has “failed at his job and destroyed the lives and business of too many hardworking Californians,''  according to RecallGavin2020. In November 2020, during the height of the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, Newsom was also widely criticized for attending a dinner for a lobbyist at a Michelin 3-star restaurant, The French Laundry in Napa Valley. The dinner violated a number of Newsom's own coronavirus restrictions, including an excessive number of attendees at the party and the fact the dinner appeared to be held indoors.

Results of the recall may not be known for a few days. Because California allows for mail-in voting, the state allows any ballot to count, so long as it has a postmark by September 14th, and is received within seven days. The count could take as long as a month before the final tally is known.

This isn't the first time California residents have been down this road. In 2003, Gov. Gray Davis, faced a recall election after residents became upset about an electricity crisis as well as an unpopular car tax. The recall was ultimately successful and Davis became the first California governor (and only the second governor in history), to be removed from office.


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