- Voters are asked two questions on their ballots: Should Governor Gavin Newsom be recalled? If more than 50% of voters say yes, the following question will be crucial: Who should replace him?
- The first polling stations in the country are closed at 8 pm according to the PDT, and a flood of results is expected by postal voting and early voting.
- Only twice in U.S. history has the governor been removed from office by revocation; in North Dakota 1921; and in California in 2003.
LOS ANGELES – Tuesday is the day of the decision in California, and voters from the most populous state in the country have less than an hour left to decide whether to keep Governor Gavin Newsom or recall him.
It was a winding road to get here, but polls have shown that Democrats are likely to keep their jobs leading a country known nationally as a liberal trendsetter. Polling stations in the state will close at 8pm local time.
Whatever the outcome, the elections themselves are rare and historic. Newsom recall it would potentially cause shocks across the country and across the Democratic Party.
Only twice in U.S. history has the governor been removed from office by revocation; in North Dakota 1921; and in California in 2003, when Gray Davis was removed and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Everything you need to know:California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall is on Tuesday. Here’s what it’s all about.
On the eve of the election, Newsom received reinforcements from President Joe Biden, with the commander-in-chief told voters at the pre-election rally that “the eyes of the nation are fixed on California.” Biden warned in Long Beach, California on Monday, that the removal of the first-term governor would have repercussions that would reverberate across the country and risk a return to former President Donald Trump’s “dark, destructive sharing policy”.
Meanwhile, Republican leader, conservative radio host Larry Elder, whom Biden labeled a “Trump clone,” predicted victory.
“Make sure your friends vote, vote, vote and try to get 10 more friends to vote and hit every call, make every call, knock on every door, we’ll get this if we go to the polls,” Elder said this week.
How the California recall works
Voters will be asked two questions on the ballot: Should Newsom be recalled? If more than 50% of voters say yes, the following question will be crucial: Who should replace him?
Forty-six candidates will appear on the ballot. Elder has consistently conducted polls among those fighting to replace Newsom. He will be stationed in Costa Mesa, California, about 40 miles south of Los Angeles, with his supporters on Tuesday.
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Other prominent Republican candidates running are Caitlyn Jenner, a former Olympic gold medalist who starred in the reality series “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”; former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer; California MP Kevin Kiley; and John Cox, a businessman who was easily defeated by News in the 2018 gubernatorial election.
The only leading Democratic candidate to emerge in the race is Kevin Paffrath, a real estate agent and a YouTube personality.
When should the final results be expected?
The first polls in the state close at 8pm per PDT, and a flood of results is expected by postal and early voting. About 37% of the approximately 22 million ballots sent to voters in California was returned on Monday, according to an analysis by Political Data Inc.
Democrats returned most of those ballots from Republicans, meaning early results could show good signs for News. But that may not last, and the number of voters coming out on Tuesday is likely to be crucial in the race decision.
It has historically taken California several weeks to count all the votes in the state election. In 2020, when almost 18 million people voted, a third of the votes in the presidential election were counted after election night. Two years earlier, more than 40% were counted after election day.
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Ballots can arrive no later than one week after Tuesday and will continue to be counted, as long as they are stamped by September 14th. This process can take days or weeks. Ballots are generally counted by mail in the order in which they are received, so the last ballots counted usually arrive last.
In 2020, Republicans were much less likely than Democrats to vote by mail in part because Trump has repeatedly argued that mail voting is unsafe and susceptible to fraud.
If this trend continues, the results of the recall election could move back and forth on election night, depending on the type of votes being reported — ballots or personal votes.
Most voters in California voted by mail, a trend that accelerated during the pandemic because many voters were reluctant to enter crowded polling stations on election day. About 87% of voters in California voted by mail in last year’s presidential election.
For Tuesday’s election, all 22 million registered voters were cast ballots.
The processing of ballots by mail takes longer than voting in person, because election officials must remove ballots from the envelope, check the voter list and make sure that the voter’s signature on the envelope matches the one on the record. Then the votes can be counted.
When voters vote in person, officials implement security measures at the polling station so that votes can be counted shortly after the polls close.
But there were unfounded allegations of voter fraud, and at least one Republican candidate in the race declined to say whether he would accept the race results.
In recent days, Elder has suggested that the recall results could be skewed by vague “tricks”, repeating Trump’s baseless allegations of vote fraud in his race with Biden 2020. He has repeatedly refused to say in various interviews that he would accept the race results.
There is no confirmed evidence of widespread fraud.
The Elder campaign website linked to the “Stop CA Fraud” website where people can sign a petition asking for a special session of the legislature to investigate “twisted results,” long before the results were published.
Newsom said it would accept the election results and urged Elder and others to do the same. “As an American, I am ashamed. I’m appalled by that. Stop. Grow up. “These people are literally vandalizing our democracy and trust in our institutions,” he said.
Asked to provide evidence of any suspicious voting activity, Elder Ying Ma’s spokeswoman said the campaign wanted “all relevant votes counted” and that “whatever tricks exist will not stand in the way of becoming the next governor.”
What do voters say? Here’s what the exit polls tell us
The Newsom recall campaign was mostly focused on its policies related to COVID-19. He was applauded at the beginning of the pandemic because he was the first to close the country because of the virus.
Months later, California became the epicenter of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the governor employing some of the strictest mandates in the country. Critics said it was difficult, closing businesses and keeping children out of classrooms longer than necessary. Newsom said his actions saved lives.
“I’m angry. It should be freedom of choice. What is this? A dictatorship?” asked Janet Webb, a 69-year-old resident of Lafayette, California, who voted for Elder.
She said quarrels over Newsom’s solution to the pandemic had separated her family and friends and could lead her to move out of the state.
“I can’t live like this if it’s going to make everyone get the vaccine,” Webb said.
Briana Mendoza, 30, said the last thing California needs is more unrest. She voted to keep Newsom.
“We are in the middle of a pandemic. Why would we remember a governor who was really trying to curb the spread of the virus? Said a San Diego social worker.
Mendoza doesn’t believe Newsom pulled the recall on himself by attending a birthday party at The French Laundry, a luxury restaurant in the Napa Valley, last fall in violation of his own administration’s coronavirus rules. Instead, she thinks the attempt to remove him is the reaction of a small minority of Republicans in a tightly democratic state.
“We don’t want the senior to be in office,” she said. “This is ridiculous. We just got Trump out. We don’t want Trump’s puppet.”
Voter priorities are divided along party lines
Exit polls show that COVID-19 was a major voter problem, followed by homelessness, the economy, fires and crime.
An exit poll, conducted by Edison Research for several media outlets, found that about a third of voters cited COVID-19 as a major problem in determining the way they voted.
But the problem was divided along party lines: More than four in 10 Democrats said COVID-19 was their main problem, compared to about a fifth of Republicans. In contrast, Republican voters were more than three times more likely than Democrats to cite the economy as their main problem.
Voters offered different reactions to the current trajectory of the pandemic in California, with about four out of ten saying the situation was improving, three out of ten saying it remained roughly the same, and just under a quarter said it was getting worse.
The findings are largely in line with a recent public opinion poll on major voter priorities. In a recent poll by the California Institute of Public Policy, COVID-19 is again at the top of the list of issues important to state voters.
Contributions: Tom Coulter, The Desert Sun; Associated Press