Governor Newsom Preparing for a Likely Recall Election
The Recall Gavin Newsom Campaign, having launched early last year, is expected to have a sufficient number of signatures to trigger a recall election that could remove Governor Newsom from office in November.
In a recent interview, Governor Newsom stated that the recall election will likely take place and that his office is preparing for such efforts.
If Governor Newsom were to be removed from office, the transition of power would have long-lasting impacts on California. They include our statewide response to COVID-19, re-opening and re-entry plans, vaccine distribution, and economic recovery.
Here's what you need to know.
The process to start a recall election
On February 20th, 2020, recall proponents issued a 'Notice of Intent to Circulate Recall Election' to the Governor's office. To officially begin a recall election, proponents must present at least verified 1.5 million signatures to the California State Secretary's office.
According to the proponents, over 2 million signatures have already been gathered. These signatures will have to be verified by election officials by April 29th.
Once the Registrar of Voters verifies that at least 1.5 million unique signatures have been gathered, a recall election must take place within 60-80 days.
On the ballot, voters must answer two key questions:
- First, whether or not Governor Newsom should be recalled.
- If voters say yes, they must next choose a replacement for Governor.
The Governor only needs a simple majority of the vote to stay in office. However, if Newsom loses the election, a new Governor will be sworn into office within 28 days of the election.
Reasons for the recall election
With the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacting communities, businesses, and local governments throughout California, there have been growing frustrations among Californians about Newsom's response to the pandemic.
According to the official petition, there are several pressing issues proponents use to justify Governor Newsom's removal. They are:
- COVID-19 response: As California nears 3.5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, recall supporters argue that Governor Newsom's response has been inadequate. However, with daily COVID-19 cases substantially declining after the winter-surge, voters may be split on this issue.
- Economic concerns: Due to COVID-19 and statewide health orders, thousands of businesses have been forced to close, decimating economic corridors and employment opportunities. While Governor Newsom has officially rolled back some restrictions, there are still many challenges to face in order to safely re-open the economy.
- Homelessness: Boasting some of the highest numbers in the nation, California has an estimated 150,000 individuals experiencing homelessness. Unsatisfied with Newsom's response, recall proponents want a new fresh approach to the crisis.
- Taxes and cost of living: According to The Council for Community and Economic Research, California is the 2nd most expensive place to live in, in part due to population density and high taxes. With costly taxes such as Proposition 15 constantly being introduced - even during the pandemic - recall proponents want more supportive measures.
Although recall organizers are optimistic they will gather the required amount of signatures, supporters will likely have to hold their breath. Newsom won the 2018 gubernatorial election with 61.9% of the vote - a significant 23.8% lead over candidate John Cox.
Additionally, there are disagreements on who should replace Newsom, if he is recalled.
Even if the recall election takes place, Newsom still has until November to prove to Californians whether or not he is still fit for office. Depending on Newsom's performance until then, California could see a new Governor and a new response to COVID-19.