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By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of San Diego’s Registrar of Voters

July 8, 2021 (San Diego) – Republican-backed efforts to recall Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom have secured enough signatures for a recall election, which will be held on September 14. In San Diego County, all voters will receive ballots in the mail, but will also have the option to vote in person over several days.

How do I vote?

Ballots will be mailed the week of August 16, giving voters a month to mark their ballots and mail them in with no postage needed, or drop them off at one of many drop-off locations across the county.

Or voters can take advantage of early voting staring August 16 at the Registrar of Voters’ office. Hours will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you prefer to vote in person at a polling place, you can do so at voting locations across the region over four days, from Saturday, September 11 through Monday, September 13 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

On Election Day, the hours will change to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at both the in-person voting locations and the Registrar’s office.

How do I register to vote, check or update my registration?

Check your voter registration information here. Make sure your residence and mailing address are up to date.

Have you moved or changed your name? Whether you are new to San Diego County or just moved down the street you need to re-register to vote.

Are you a first-time voter? If you want to participate in the upcoming election, you must be registered to vote – it takes less than 2 minutes.

How does California’s recall process work?

The recall process allows voters to decide whether to remove elected public officials from office before their term is over.

A recall ballot will ask voters two questions.

In this recall election, the first question will ask voters “yes” or “no” to remove the governor from office.

In the second part, voters will be asked to select a replacement candidate. If more than 50% of voters vote “yes” to recall the governor, the replacement candidate who gets the most votes will be elected for the remainder of the term of office.

If a majority of voters vote “no” on the first question, then the recall has failed, and the governor will remain in office.

Who is running?

Candidates have until July 16 to file with the California Secretary of State to run.

Thus far, no Democrats have filed to run. The Democratic party is taking the position that the recall is a power grab by Republicans, who have been unable to win any statewide office in recent years in California, which has a heavily Democratic registration tilt. 

Democrats blame the recall of Governor Gray Davis and election of his replacement, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the fact that the Democratic Lieutenant Governor ran to give voters a Democratic alternative if the recall succeeds.

Republican candidates include San Diego’s former Mayor Kevin Faulconer, transgender activist and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, Sacramento Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, and San Diego businessman John Cox, who previously ran unsuccessfully against Newsom.

An error by Newsom’s lawyer resulted in his Democratic party affiliation being left off the ballot. Newsom has filed a lawsuit seeking to have his party registration added.

Why do recall backers want to remove Governor Newsom from office?

On the campaign trail, conservatives have criticized Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly shutdowns of businesses and mask mandates, calling these actions government overreach. 

However, the recall effort began before the pandemic, with a signature-gathering deadline extended after the pandemic was declared. 

The first effort to recall Newsom came two months after he took office and was filed along with recall attempts aimed at six other top Democratic officials, including the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general. The other five failed to get enough signatures to qualify.

What is Newsom’s response?

Newsom contends that his actions during the pandemic saved lives, as evidenced by California now having far lower rates of COVID-19 than most other states, along with one of the highest vaccination rates. He also points to California’s record budget surplus in 2021 as a sign of a strong economy as the state emerges from the pandemic.

An earlier reason cited for the recall was Newsom’s efforts to phase out gas-powered automobiles in the future. Newsom has backed a rapid transition to clean, renewable energy sources to address global climate change.

Some also criticized Newsom over wildfires that ravaged the state, though climate change was a key factor in those disasters. Newsom has since dramatically boosted funding for firefighting.

Where can I get more information on local voting questions?

To learn more about voting in the gubernatorial recall election, visit or call (858) 565-5800.


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