Gavin Newsom (Image by Gage Skidmore and under CC-2.0 License)
Gavin Newsom (Image by Gage Skidmore and under CC-2.0 License)

On September 14th, California will be holding its recall election, which could overturn the currently elected Governor of California – Gavin Newsom

At an EMS Briefing, Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber stressed the importance of voting and the negative implications of withholding your vote. Abstaining from voting is not a neutral act. Rather, it misrepresents the values of a whole community, skewing the vote outcome to the beliefs of the small number of people that voted. 

During recall elections, it is critical to vote because the opposition’s vote could bear more weight in light of general public disinterest.

This is the first time in nearly 20 years that there has been a recall election in California. 

What will the ballot say? 

The ballot will consist of two questions:

  1. Do you want to recall Governor Gavin? 
  2. Who do you want to replace the governor? 

The second question is only pertinent if the answer to the first question is ‘Yes’. 

For the second question, a list of prospective candidates is available along with information guides on each of them. These candidates range widely in experience levels and only one candidate must be picked as an answer.

While the second question does not matter if the majority answered ‘No’ to the first question, it is still important to put a name down for the second so officials are able to determine prospective ideals and candidates that resonate with the community during these changing times. 

There are 46 prospective candidates who have provided information.

How do you participate?

It is the same process as any other election. As long as you are registered to vote, you can vote. It is important that your voter registration information is up to date with the right address. 

Important dates before the day of the recall election 

August 16th: counties start mailing ballots 

August 24th: last day the Voter Information Guide goes out 

August 30th: last day voters can register online 

August 31st- September 14th: conditional voter registration is available 

September 7th: last day for counties to send vote by mail ballots 

September 14th: Election Day. Polling places are open from 7 am- 8 pm

October 22nd: results come out on the elected candidate


All voters will be mailed a vote by mail ballot via USPS with prepaid postage that must be sent by Election Day and be received within seven days. 

Recent mishaps during the national elections have led to heightened security, resulting in more precaution during this recall. It is important to remember that the vote by mail is secure and the vote will be received. There are safety measures in place to protect their integrity: unique watermarks and barcodes on returned envelopes, scanning of ballots to ensure voters only vote once, and the checking of signatures on every ballot before they are processed. 

There’s also a way to automatically receive a text, email, or voice call on the status of your ballot. Voters can sign up at to receive such notifications. 

The recall election may seem small relative to federal elections, however, the Governor of a state handles policies that impact micro-communities heavily. So even if you feel neutral, it is still important to vote! 

Swati Ramaswamy is a recent graduate from UC Davis and an aspiring creative writer.