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San Diego County Registrar Makes Plans For Recall Election

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 vaccination site in City Heights, April 2, 2021.
Matthew Bowler
Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 vaccination site in City Heights, April 2, 2021.

In a few weeks, every registered voter in California will get a ballot in the mail for the Gubernatorial Recall Election.

This is the sixth recall attempt against Governor Newsom, but the first one to make it to a ballot.

San Diego County Registrar Makes Plans For Recall Election
Listen to this story by Melissa Mae.

San Diego Registrar of Voters Cynthia Paes has been preparing for various scenarios and feels prepared even with the short time frame to organize.


According to the Registrar, nearly 80% of San Diego County’s registered voters are already permanent mail ballot voters. For the November 2020 election cycle they mailed 100% of active registered voters a ballot, so they are well prepared to do that again.

Voters in San Diego County will have the option to return their ballot by mail or at one of many convenient mail ballot drop-off locations around the county.

The Registrar has already started reaching out to poll workers and poll locations who served in the November 2020 election.

They are also planning on having approximately 200 “super poll” locations open for four-days of voting.

California Sets Date For Recall Election Targeting Newsom

Brian Adams is a Political Science professor at San Diego State University and says the September 14th date could be a good and bad thing for Governor Newsom.


“From Newsom’s perspective, thinking about his strategy. He wanted to have it earlier primarily because things are going well for him now,” Adams said. “The biggest problem that Newsom faces is that when the recall comes, all those Republicans who are really energized they all go out and vote and Democrats stay home either because they think, ‘I don’t trust in this or they actually don’t realize there’s a recall.”

Carl Luna is the Director of Institute for Civil Civic Engagement and Political Science professor at the University of San Diego and describes why the recall election date is significant.

“Holding the recall mid-September benefits Newsom in three ways. First, it gives his two main Republican opponents less time to raise money and campaign against him. Second, his approval ratings are already back up post-COVID reopening, with the economy rapidly recovering, the state having a revenue windfall thanks to Federal stimulus, people back to work and out to play, people are happier and happy people don't recall their governor,” Luna said.

Luna went on to say, “Holding the election in September gives less time for a wildcard event to occur that could swing voters against him. Finally wrapping up the recall in mid-September takes pressure off what he might have faced as the legislature moves towards wrapping up bills in October — less time for groups to try and pressure him with a quid pro quo (you advance our legislation and we support you in the recall). Barring some national event that really drives up Republican turnout and drives Democrats away from the polls, Newsom looks highly likely to stay in office leaving Cox and Faulconer to fight it out for who faces him (and likely loses) in 2022.”

This ballot will only have two questions on it. A yes or no question on whether to recall Newsom and if you vote yes on a recall, then there will be a list of candidates, from which you have to pick one to be the replacement candidate.

There are four major Republican candidates who are running: Kevin Faulconer, John Cox, Caitlin Jenner and Doug Ose.

According to Adams, “The polling indicates that none of them are doing particularly well.”

According to the State Finance Department, this election is going to cost $276 million dollars.