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What to know about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall efforts

So how does the recall work? What awaits you Here’s what you need to know:

How many signatures does the recall require?

For the recall to progress, promoters must submit a total of 1,495,709 valid signatures to county election officials. before March 17th, the deadline set by the court, which has been extended due to the pandemic. The number of signatures required is 12% of the votes cast in the last governor’s election, when Mr Newsom defeated Republican businessman John Cox in 2018.

And yes – as the office of the secretary of state recently highlighted in response to incorrect information circulating online – signatures of any official petition must be verified and held valid.

In this case, election officials must compare the signature of the petition to the signature of the voter in their registration file; signatures must come from a registered voter.

The counties have until April 29 to verify signatures. After that, the Secretary of State’s office has 10 days to determine if there are enough valid signatures to qualify the recall election. (Another note: Voters who signed the recall petition can withdraw their signatures within 30 business days of this decision, and county election officials have 10 days after that period to notify the Secretary of State’s office of the number. people who have withdrawn.)

How many signatures did this recall actually get?

According to the latest state report, as of February 5, supporters of Mr Newsom’s recall effort had submitted around 1.1 million signatures in total, including 798,310 signatures that were verified by county officials. .

Of those, about 84%, or 668,202, were valid, meaning they belonged to a registered California voter.

Is the recall election likely to take place?

That 84% figure is an unusually high rate of valid signatures, compared to, say, a typical petition to put an initiative on the ballot. Observers say this is an encouraging sign for supporters of the recall.

Additionally, experts have told me that polls suggest there are plenty of voters, including around six million who voted for former President Donald J. Trump, who are likely to support a recall.

Widespread dissatisfaction with the initial vaccine rollout could be contributing to these numbers. Finally, as the school year nears its usual end, with most students learning from a distance, the governor comes under fire from Republicans and members of his own party for failing to reach a broad agreement on how to bring children back to classrooms.

Still, experts said things could change dramatically before voters are asked to decide whether to end their governor’s term prematurely.

What happens if a recall campaign gets enough signatures?

The state’s finance department will work with the secretary of state’s office and county election officials to estimate the cost of a recall election. Once that happens, the estimate is sent to senior state officials, and then the Joint Legislative Budget Committee has 30 days to review and comment on the costs before the signatures are officially certified.

After that, the lieutenant governor – not the secretary of state’s office – is required to schedule an election between 60 and 80 days from the date of accreditation. This could be extended to 180 days if it consolidated the recall election with a regular election.

Analysts suggested that a recall election could take place in November.

Voters would be asked two questions: Should Mr. Newsom be called back? And if a majority of voters say yes, who should replace him? (In 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the winner of a crowded field of candidates.)

Is this unusual?

Kind of. California is one of 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, that allows public servants to be recalled. And while recall efforts have been launched for every California governor since 1960, only one has led to an election.

Read more:

  • Here is a detailed explanation on how to recall a governor in California. [CalMatters]

  • Here’s everything you might want to know on who is behind the effort to recall Mr. Newsom and the story of the governor remembers. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • What do the polls say? Here is a recent overview. [The New York Times]

  • The state has responded to many questions about the recall process – in 2003. (Take the estimated costs with a grain of salt.) [California Secretary of State]

  • Could Democrats delay recall? Here’s a look at possible ways to extend the timeline – although some say it could give the recall supporters more time. [The Sacramento Bee]

  • The governor recently approved a law that would extend a requirement that a postal ballot be sent to each eligible voter in every election “declared or conducted” before the start of 2022. [California Legislature]


Tell us what you want to know: We know that the process of reopening schools in California has been interrupted, fragmented, uneven and confusing. There is a lot of flow, and we want to help you sort it out. If you are a parent or educator (or both), please email your questions to us at CAtoday@nytimes.com. We will respond to some of them.

Read all articles from The Times cover of the school reopening here.


  • Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state is revamping its vaccination efforts and that more doses would go to the central valley, which has been criticized by the pandemic. [The Bakersfield Californian]

  • It started with a hot mic moment, in which there were jokes about parents wanting their kids to go back to school so they would be free to smoke weed. Then the entire Oakley Union Elementary school district board quit. [The New York Times]

  • In his latest reform move, Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, seeks information on agents with a history of misconduct that could affect their credibility in court. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • Following the passage of proposition 22, companies hope to leverage their advantage and use the model to convert millions of additional jobs into employment contracts. [Bloomberg]

Learn more about the fight for Proposition 22. [The New York Times]

  • “If the studios wanted to kill the Golden Globes, they could do it overnight,” a source said. “But everyone likes to receive an award.” The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is criticized again – for breaches of ethics and automation rules. [The Los Angeles Times]

  • California almond blossom, the world’s largest pollination event, has begun. [The San Luis Obispo Tribune]


California Today goes live at 6:30 a.m. PT on weekdays. Tell us what you want to see: CAtoday@nytimes.com. Have you been forwarded this email? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.

Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley and has reported statewide, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield and Los Angeles – but she always wants to see more. Follow us here or on Twitter.

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.