All registered California voters should receive their recall ballots in the mail by Monday, inching the state closer to the Sept. 14 election where voters will decide whether Gov. Gavin Newsom will remain in his position or be ousted.
The ballot for the recall election contains two questions — should Gov. Newsom be recalled (vote yes or no), and if yes, who should replace him. The second question asks voters to select from a list of more than 46 candidates running to replace Gov. Newsom.
Members of the county’s Democratic party — who are voicing opposition to the recall — are asking that voters who vote “no” in the first question leave the second question blank. According to state election rules, it is permissible for voters to turn in a ballot without the second question filled out.
In order for the governor to be recalled, more than 50% of voters will need to vote “yes” to the recall. If this occurs, the candidate with the highest percentage of the vote will replace Gov. Newsom for the rest of his term, which ends Jan. 2, 2023.
With just a month left before the recall vote takes place, members of the Santa Barbara County Republican and Democratic parties are continuing efforts to educate voters about the election, staking their claims for why voters should select “yes” or “no” on the ballot.
Over the weekend, the Republican party disseminated more than 25,000 flyers across the county listing reasons to recall the governor and asking voters to check “yes” on the ballot. Bobbi McGinnis, the county’s Republican chairwoman, is helping to lead the recall effort locally and told the News-Press that Gov. Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness, taxes and crime are all grounds for his removal.
Recall proponents across the state have often cited Gov. Newsom’s attendance at The French Laundry dinner party in Napa Valley in November 2020 — during a time when much of the state was locked down — and his regulation of businesses as additional reasons to support the recall.
“There are so many things that have gone wrong under Gavin Newsom’s watch,” Ms. McGinnis said. “He’s been behaving more like a king than a governor.”
Ahead of next month’s election, Ms. McGinnis said she has her eye on Republican candidates Kevin Faulconer, Larry Elder, Kevin Kylie and Doug Ose. If a Republican is elected, Ms. McGinnis said the new governor would likely roll back a number of Gov. Newsom’s current policies, including his COVID-19 measures.
“If one of the conservatives gets into office, I feel like what will happen is a freeze on all regulations,” Ms. McGinnis said. “There’s going to be maybe even a suspension of gas tax, so that we can ease people’s pain at the gas pump. I think that would be an easy thing for the governor to do. And I also feel like that there’s going to be an opening of the schools, there’s probably going to be a relaxing of the mask mandates. And there’s going to be, I think, a relaxing of the mandates on vaccinations.”
While the outcome of the recall election still seems to sway in Gov. Newsom’s favor according to recent polls, Darcel Elliot, the county’s Democratic chairwoman, said the election is heavily reliant on voter turnout.
According to a poll conducted by UC Berkeley last month, 36% of the entire electorate would vote “yes” to the recall. However, experts do not expect all registered voters to participate in the election, and estimate that of those most enthusiastic to participate, about 47% would vote “yes.”
This poses more of a challenge to Gov. Newsom’s campaign than what was originally anticipated, though Ms. Elliott said she remains confident that the governor will prevail.
“I continue to feel positive that we will defeat this recall attempt if people turn out to vote,” Ms. Elliott told the News-Press in an email. “The entire recall attempt is based on low turnout in an off-year election. The only way to prevent Republicans from stealing this seat is to vote.”
Leading up to the recall, Ms. Elliott said the county’s Democrats will continue knocking on doors and phoning residents to ensure all registered voters have the information they need to “make their vote count.”
Leading up to the election, the county will have more than two dozen drop boxes available for people to mail in their ballots. The last day to register to vote in the recall election is Aug. 30, and residents can find more information at registertovote.ca.gov.