California Recall Elections

Hello and welcome to California’s branch of The Polling Place blog. The blog will contain news, opinion pieces, and Polling Place updates written by the California team members of The Polling Place.

As you may know, there is currently a recall election going on in California. The ballots contain two questions: 

  1. Should Gavin Newsom be recalled from office,
  2. If so, who should replace him? 

The recall would go into effect if the majority of voters (more than 50%) chose to vote yes on the first question. 

Supporters of the recall have two major complaints about the Newsom administration: its COVID-19 pandemic response, and the rise in California’s homeless population.

Some California citizens disagreed with Governor Newsom’s COVID-induced restrictions on businesses. The recall effort gained steam when Newsom attended a friend’s party at a famous restaurant (The French Laundry) with a large group of people. Newsom acknowledged that his party attendance was “a bad mistake.” 

There are forty-six candidates on the ballot, including nine Democrats and twenty-four Republicans. As a result, opponents of the recall fear that if Governor Newsom were to be recalled, he would be replaced by a Republican. There is no other established Democrat running for the position and Newsom cannot run as a replacement candidate in the recall. The Democratic party and Newsom’s administration is urging citizens to vote no on the recall and to leave the second question blank. Larry Elder, a conservative radio host, seems to be the leading Republican candidate. Elder has drummed up support from the Republican party; however, it is unlikely that he would gain enough support to be elected Governor outside of the recall. This type of election usually fails to make it to the ballot. Democrats are having to reckon with the reality of an Elder administration until November 2022. In the midst of rising national COVID-19 cases, Elder is advocating for a loosening of restrictions and a “return to normalcy.” Many Democrats fear another spike in COVID cases should Elder’s policies go into effect.

The stakes of the California governors’ race are high. The California governor has significant influence over pandemic policies, the criminal justice system, education, environmental policy, economic policy, and more. It is therefore imperative to vote in the recall election.


Maeve Reston and Ethan Cohen, CNN. “What You Need To Know About The California Recall”. CNN, 2021, Accessed 23 Aug 2021.

“Topics – Elect Elder”. Elect Elder, 2021, Accessed 23 Aug 2021.

“Gavin Newsom Recall, Governor Of California (2019-2021) – Ballotpedia”. Ballotpedia, 2021,,_Governor_of_California_(2019-2021). Accessed 23 Aug 2021.