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The California Recall: What We Need to Know

The ongoing recall election will determine the fate of California Governor, Gavin Newsom. The Democratic governor could be replaced by a Republican candidate, such as GOP frontrunner Larry Elder.


Millions of voters have already cast their ballots, with voting for this special election taking place in-person and by mail. Vote-by-mail ballots have been sent out across the state to all active registered voters. This recall ballot asks two questions. First, it asks if the voter wishes to recall Governor Newsom. Then, it asks if the governor is recalled, who the voter would want to replace him with.

Once all ballots are counted, the answer to that first question will determine whether Governor Newsom maintains his position or not. If more than fifty percent of all voters vote “no,” then the governor will keep his position. If more than fifty percent of all voters vote “yes,” then the governor will be removed from office and replaced. The candidate who replaces him is the candidate that receives the most votes on the ballot’s second question.

Governor Newsom and the California Democratic Party have asked their voters to vote “no” on the first question and leave the second blank. The California GOP has asked their voters to vote “yes” on the first question. This means that a Republican candidate is likely to win the second question on the ballot.

Recall Campaigns

The recall effort originated as a response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s handling of immigration, parental rights, taxes and homelessness, as well as a variety of other issues. Disapproval of the governor’s COVID-19 response also contributed to a growing support of the recall by Republicans.

The recall continued to gain support in November 2020, after Newsom was photographed attending a party at a luxurious Napa Valley restaurant known as the French Laundry. Many saw this as hypocrisy since the governor had been stressing the importance of Californians avoiding large gatherings and staying home when possible.

Republican recall candidates have used similar messages within their campaigns. Larry Elder, for example, has emphasized issues such as COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates, school choice, and crime in his campaign. A self-described “small-L libertarian,” Elder believes that the Californian government is too involved in the lives of its citizens and said that “a government that governs less governs best” in a CalMatters interview. Consequently, he does not support the idea of a minimum wage and believes that government welfare programs are ineffective.

Governor Gavin Newsom has largely campaigned on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and is in support of the implementation of mask and vaccine mandates. However, Newsom has also focused on climate change, immigration, reproductive rights, gun safety, and the minimum wage within his campaign. Unlike Elder, Newsom is known to act in support of government welfare programs. Support from prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, has also played a significant role in Newsom’s campaign. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have also voiced their support.

Recent polling leans in Newsom’s favor, with data suggesting that the majority of voters will vote “no” on the recall.

Student Opinions

Students at Mira Loma High School have a wide range of opinions on the recall election. Mira Loma Today spoke with several, and this is what they had to say:

One senior, Jason Liang, says the recall is “an obvious attempt at a power grab by a dying Republican Party that is frantically grabbing at anything as it sinks into irrelevance.”

Another student describes it as “unnecessary at best, [and a] waste of time [and] money at worst.” The recall, which is to cost $276 million, also comes one year before the state’s next gubernatorial election.

Sophomore Omer Eyada argues that, while Governor Newsom may not have been a perfect governor, the other candidates are even less qualified to lead the state. Other students echo that sentiment.

One freshman explains exactly why they do not want “someone like [Larry Elder] in charge.” With an unvaccinated brother who is still at risk of contracting COVID-19, the removal of mask mandates and other precautions could increase his risk of becoming infected. The student does not want their brother, or anyone else, to be hurt by COVID-19.

With a majority of student responses were not in favor of the recall, one student pointed out that, “A Republican Governorship could balance the unchecked power of an increasingly prevalent Democratic Party.”

This election has the potential to change California’s future as a state. Once each ballot is counted, all will be able to preview what California’s political landscape could look like in the next couple of years.

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