Signature threshold met to recall CA Gov. Gavin Newsom

Photo of Gavin Newsom speaking at a rally
Charlie Nguyen/Creative Commons
A petition calling for the recall of California Gov. Gavin Newsom has collected enough verified signatures to qualify for a recall election. Photo by Charlie Nguyen under CC BY 2.0

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Critics of California Gov. Gavin Newsom collected enough signatures for a recall election.

There were 1,626,042 verified signatures for the recall, which exceeds the threshold requirement of 1,495,709 signatures, according to a press release from California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. Unless enough voters withdraw their signatures before June 8, the recall election will be held by the year’s end. 

“Voters signed recall petitions because California is on the wrong track,” said California Republican Party Chair Jessica Millan Patterson in a press release. “We deserve better than the failures of this incompetent governor.”

The recall comes amid complaints that Newsom did not do enough to keep children in school during the pandemic and allegedly lied about “suffering through” virtual school while his children had in-person instruction, according to the press release. The governor also “hypocritically” dined indoors without a mask, the press release added. 

The recall means that Newsom may have to run a reelection campaign while governing efforts to meet California’s plan to fully reopen by June 15.

“The recall is really an act of frustration born from the pandemic,” said City Councilmember Ben Bartlett. “To hang the ills of the pandemic on the head of one official is not a genuine strategy. And ultimately, it’s a partisan move with the opposing party just using people’s frustrations to advance its own agenda.”

Now that the threshold for required signatures has been met, there will be a 30-day business period allowing voters to submit written requests to remove their signatures, according to California Secretary of State communications coordinator Chris Miller. If enough signatures remain, the California Department of Finance will work with county election officials and Weber’s office to estimate the cost of the recall election.

There will then be 30 days for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee to review the cost estimates, Miller added. After that, the lieutenant governor will set up a recall election to take place sometime between summer and December this year.

“It’s been a very, very difficult year, and it’s been a real challenge to govern given the pandemic,” said City Councilmember Susan Wengraf. “I think the recall needs to be put in that context.”

According to Weber’s office, the recall petition was approved for circulation June 10, 2020. The threshold requirement was set at 1,495,709 signatures since it marked 12% of the 12,464,235 votes originally cast for Newsom’s election.

If the recall election is passed, voters can expect to see two questions on the recall ballot, according to a guide from the California Secretary of State. The first will ask voters to choose “yes” or “no” to remove Newsom from office, and voters can select a replacement candidate in the second question.

Contact Cindy Liu at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @_CindyLiu_.