Today is the final day for registered Californians to vote in the recall election targeting Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Millions of California voters received their mail-in ballots in the middle of last month. The ballot asks voters to answer two questions: Should Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled (answer yes or no)? And who should succeed the governor if he is recalled?
In order for Gov. Newsom to be recalled, more than 50% of voters must vote “yes” on the ballot. If this occurs, the successor with the highest number of votes on the ballot’s second question will replace the governor.
The ballot contains a list of 46 candidates vying for the governorship, a few of whom made stops in Santa Barbara County on the campaign trail.
Larry Elder, the leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, spoke to a crowd of hundreds of recall supporters at the County Courthouse’s Sunken Gardens last week ahead of election day.
And in the earlier weeks of the recall effort, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and businessman John Cox stopped to campaign in various parts of the county as well.
According to Joseph Holland, the county’s registrar of voters, more than 100,000 ballots were submitted via mail or in one of the county’s ballot drop boxes as of Monday.
The county’s Department of Elections sent out about 238,000 recall ballots in August to registered voters, Mr. Holland told the News-Press.
Voters who have not yet cast a ballot have the option to vote in person today at one of the county’s 54 polling locations. To find a polling location near you, visit countyofsb.org/care/elections/voting/upcoming/september-14-2021.sbc. Voters can still mail in their ballot, but it must be postmarked by today in order to be counted.
In-person voters are encouraged to bring their mail-in ballot with them to the polling location. Mr. Holland said elections officials will trade the mail-in ballot for a live ballot.
If voters show up without their mail-in ballot, they will likely need to vote with a provisional ballot, which will be counted the same, Mr. Holland said.
Preliminary election results are expected to be released around 8 tonight on both the state and local levels. The state, however, has 29 days to certify the election results, meaning it could be weeks before the official results are announced.
Throughout the recall effort, recall proponents and opponents have canvassed across the county, encouraging voters to get out and vote in the recall election.
In the weeks leading up to election day, members of the county’s Democratic Party have encouraged voters to vote “no” on the recall and keep Gov. Newsom in his position of power. Numerous county Democrats have said the recall effort is a Republican-led power grab and would roll back the progress the governor has made on environmental policy, worker’s rights and COVID-19 recovery.
“Voting ‘no’ on the recall is the only way to prevent a Trump-supporting Republican from becoming governor,” Spencer Brandt, the organizing director for the county’s Democratic Party, told the News-Press Saturday. “A Republican governor of California would restrict access to women’s reproductive healthcare, attack immigrants’ rights and erode protections for our environment.”
A number of county Republicans, however, see the election as a chance for a new future for California. Throughout the pandemic, many recall proponents have pointed to Gov. Newsom’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis, his attendance at a French Laundry party during the winter lockdowns and his shutdown of schools as prominent reasons to support the recall.
Goleta resident Jim Worthen, who favors the recall, questioned the validity of a Los Angeles Times/UC Berkeley poll released last week showing 60% support for keeping Gov. Newsom in office. He said the numbers should have focused on people likely to vote in the recall election, rather than registered voters in general.
“What I hear from the campaigns is that it’s going to be a toss-up, 50/50. The voter turnout is going to be the big thing,” Mr. Worthen told the News-Press. “It’s such a phony poll.”
He said he’s concerned the poll will discourage people from casting ballots.
Mr. Worthen also criticized Gov. Newsom for high gasoline prices. “It’s $1 a gallon more than anywhere in the country. It’s almost $2 more a gallon over some places.”
And like previous critics, Mr. Worthen said he feels Gov. Newsom has been a hypocrite. He cited the well-known French Laundry restaurant incident.
“His kids were in private school without masks while your kids couldn’t go to school,” Mr. Worthen said.