On Tuesday, September 14, a special recall election will happen to determine whether Governor Gavin Newsom will retain his position, or if someone else will take his place. In the lead up to this election, you may have questions regarding what is on the ballot, how to get a ballot, and the process for filling out and returning your ballot to ensure that it is counted properly.
What questions are we being asked to decide?
Californians are being asked two questions:
First, whether Gavin Newsom — a Democrat elected in 2018 — should remain Governor of California, or instead be removed from office. A “NO” vote is to keep him in office; a “YES” vote is to remove Newsom.
Second, if Newsom is removed, who should be the new governor for the remainder of the current term? This question only becomes relevant if the number of people who vote “YES” on Question 1 is greater than the number of people who vote “NO.” If Newsom is removed, the candidate with the most votes on Question 2 becomes governor.
How do I vote?
Every registered voter in California will receive a vote-by-mail ballot about one month before the election. If you are not registered to vote, go here to register. However, you can register to vote in person on Election Day at your polling location.
If you are registered, but have not received your vote-by-mail ballot, go here to track it.
All registered California voters can also vote in person on or before Election Day. Find your polling place here.
How do I fill out my ballot?
Voters will be asked two (2) questions on the recall election ballot.
On Question 1, you can either:
- Vote NO to keep Governor Newsom
- If your vote is NO, you can either leave Question 2 blank OR choose a candidate to succeed Governor Newsom. Neither a response nor lack of a response will negate your NO vote.
- Vote YES to recall Governor Newsom
- If you vote YES, you’ll be asked to select a candidate to succeed Governor Newsom.
How do I submit my vote-by-mail ballot?
Once you’ve marked your ballot, seal it inside the envelope provided. Don’t forget to sign and date the envelope! No stamps are necessary to mail a ballot. Make sure the mail ballot is postmarked by Tuesday, September 14 or earlier.
If you wish to drop off your ballot, you can do so at any voting location in your county. Some counties also offer secure drop off locations. Go here for details and locations.
Key Election Dates
- Aug. 16: Deadline for counties to send mail-in ballots to all registered voters. Some ballot drop boxes open on this date.
- Aug. 30: The last day to register to vote online and get a ballot in the mail. After this day, you will have to register to vote at a polling place, vote center or your county elections office.
- Sept. 4: Some early in-person voting begins.
- Sept. 14: Election Day. You can register and cast a ballot in the recall through this day.
- Oct. 14: Counties must finish counting ballots and certify their results
- Oct. 22: Deadline for the Secretary of State to certify the results. If the governor is recalled, he will need to vacate the office by this date and the winning replacement candidate will be sworn in.
- June 7, 2022: Date of the California primary, which will include the governor’s office
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