The Gubernatorial Recall Election Is Very Different Than a Regular Election


Earlier this year, many Californians signed a petition to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.  In order to recall Governor Newsom, proponents need to gather the signatures of 12 percent of the total number of votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election, which was in 2018.  That comes to about 1.46 million signatures.

The Recall effort began on June 10, 2020, when the petition to recall was approved for circulation by the Secretary of State.  On April 26, 2021, the Secretary of State announced that the proponents had surpassed the required amount of verified signatures, gathering about 1.7 million.  Thus setting into motion, a particular type of election called a recall election.  The recall election will take place on September 14, 2021.  There are only two questions on a recall election ballot which are:  1) “Should the governor be recalled from office?” and, 2) “If the governor is recalled, who should take his place?”

If more than 50% of voters answer “yes” to the first question, Governor Newsom will be recalled, and the candidate who receives the most votes from the second question will replace him.  According to the SBC Registrar of Voters, “It is not required that one of the 46 successor candidates receive more than 50% of the vote to win.”  Should Governor Newsom get recalled, his successor will be elected for the unexpired term of office, which expires on January 2, 2023.  If the majority of the voters vote not to recall Governor Newsom, he will remain in office.

Any person who is registered to vote in California can vote in the gubernatorial recall election.  Voter registration ends on August 30, 2021, for those who want to be mailed a ballot.  However, registration is still possible at the Registrar of Voters office until 8pm on Election Day, an Early Vote site before election day, or at a polling place on Election Day and vote a provisional ballot.

The 1.1 million active registered voters in San Bernardino County do not have to wait for Election Day or even receive a ballot in the mail to vote early.  There are four ways to cast a vote in the upcoming September 14, 2021 recall election.  Voters may vote by mail, drop their ballot off at a ballot drop-off location, visit an early vote site or vote at their regular polling place.  Every registered voter should have been mailed a Voter Information Guide; the assigned polling location is printed on the back cover.  Voters can also find assigned polling places by using the My Elections Gateway application on the Registrar of Voters website or calling (909) 387-8300.

Polling places will open on Election Day, Tuesday, September 14, from 7am to 8 pm.  Lines may be long on Election Day, so voters are encouraged to vote before the election.  

Additionally, the Registrar of Voters office will open for early voting starting on Monday, August 16, 2021.  Voters can now obtain and cast a ballot at the Registrar of Voters office, 777 E. Rialto Avenue in San Bernardino, during regular business hours of 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.  The office will also be open for voting on Saturday, September 11, from 8am to 5pm. 

Early voting locations in Apple Valley, Joshua Tree, Ontario, San Bernardino, and Victorville will be available Tuesday, September 7 through Saturday, September 11, and Monday, September 13.

Voters may also return their voted ballot by mail for free.  The County has pre-paid the postage on the return envelope.  Ballots must be postmarked on or before Tuesday, September 14, to be eligible to be counted.

The Registrar of Voters also has more than 70 mail ballot drop-off locations throughout the County that are open through 8pm on Election Day.  A Mail Ballot Drop-Off Locations tool is available on the Registrar of Voters website

The Registrar of Voters website states that “Poll workers will clean high-touch surfaces throughout the day.  Polling places will be stocked with face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer.  Vaccinated poll workers have the option of wearing a face covering, but are not currently required to wear one.  Unvaccinated poll workers must wear a face covering.  Face coverings will also be available at these sites for any voter who requests one.”

The County Voter Information Guide and the State Voter Information Guide  Voters can be found by visiting the Registrar of Voters website,, and clicking on the Elections menu tab.

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