California Gubernatorial Election
California Gubernatorial Election
We’ve compiled what you need to know to vote in the gubernatorial recall election on September 14, when Californians cast their ballots to decide whether to remove Governor Gavin Newsom from office. This project is part of a broader ongoing effort to provide voters with reliable and accurate information in upcoming elections across the country.
What is the recall?
The recall election allows California voters to decide whether to remove Governor Gavin Newsom from office before his term ends. Newsom will be removed from office if more than 50% of voters say yes to the recall. If fewer than 50% vote in favor of the recall, Newsom continues as governor until his term ends on January 2, 2023.
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Any registered voter in the state of California can vote in the recall election. Every registered and active voter — more than 22 million Californians — will automatically receive a ballot in the mail for the recall election.
Online: Visit the California Secretary of State website (it takes 2 minutes).
Mail: If you would like to register using a paper voter registration application, you can pick one up at your county elections office, library, Department of Motor Vehicles offices, or U.S. post office. To request a paper voter registration application be mailed to you, call (800) 345-VOTE(8683) or email Elections Division staff.
Click here to check if you’re registered to vote and where you are registered. At this site, you can also:
- Check your political party preference.
- Check your language preference for election materials.
- Check the status of your vote-by-mail or provisional ballot.
- Find your polling place.
- Find information for upcoming local and state elections.
- Find contact information for your county elections office.
- Choose how you want to receive your state and county voter guides before each election.
By mail: Monday, August 30, 2021
Online: Monday, August 30, 2021
In person: Tuesday, September 14, 2021
How Do I Vote?
By mail: You can return your ballots by mail or at local ballot drop-off locations through Election Day on September 14.
In-person: You can also cast ballots in person at polling locations, which will open on Election Day; some counties offer early voting before Election Day. Find your local polling place and ballot drop-off locations here.
Ballots will start going out in the mail the week of August 16. If your voter information is up to date, you should expect to see your mail ballot that same week. If you haven’t received your mail ballot by August 30, reach out to your county registrar’s office.
If you receive a mail ballot but would rather vote in person at a polling place, an election worker at your local polling place can suspend your mail ballot and re-issue you a paper ballot to cast.
The Remote Accessible Vote by Mail (RAVBM) system allows you to download a ballot and read and mark it using your own assistive technology device so that you can vote independently in the comfort of your own home.
You can request a RAVBM by reviewing your information on My Voter Status, by contacting your County Elections Office by phone, mail or email, or by going to your County Elections Office website for more information.
To return a RAVBM ballot, print your selections and place the ballot inside either the vote-by-mail envelope all Californians received (postage included) or inside your own envelope (which would require postage). Sign the envelope, then return it by mail or by dropping it off at a voting location. Selections cannot be returned electronically.
For more information about RAVBM, visit the California Secretary of State’s website.
Your county registrar will start processing mail ballots beginning 29 days before Election Day. Return your mail ballot as soon as possible so it can be added to the first release of election night results occurring shortly after 8 pm on September 14.
Filling out the ballot
Recall ballots have two parts. The first asks the yes-or-no question “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”
A yes vote is a vote to remove Newsom from office. A no vote is to keep Newsom as governor until the end of his term in January, 2023.
The second part allows voters to pick one replacement candidate from a list. It says “Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:”
You can view the official certified list of candidates here.
You can vote on either one or both parts of the recall ballot, and your vote still counts.
If Newsom is recalled, the candidate with the most votes on the second question will take office for the remainder of Newsom’s term. You can select a replacement candidate even if you vote “no” on the recall and prefer to keep Newsom as governor.
Make Sure Your Vote Counts
You can get updates on your ballot through California’s official “Where’s My Ballot?” tracking tool. It only takes a few clicks to securely track your ballot!
Visit wheresmyballot.sos.ca.gov, where you can select to receive notifications on the status of your vote-by-mail ballot by text (SMS), email, or voice call, including alerts if there are any issues with your ballot and instructions for how to correct them to make sure your vote is counted.
For more information about the gubernatorial recall election, visit the California Secretary of State’s FAQ page and view the official recall election calendar.
California Recall Articles
Below is a list of articles we’ve found helpful in explaining the California gubernatorial recall election. Click the links below to read more about all things recall-related. As this project continues forward, we’ll update this list regularly.
How to track your ballot in California’s recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom
Andrew Sheeler / The Sacramento Bee / August 31, 2021
Recall fact and fiction: What you need to know about the election fraud rumors you’re seeing
Sameea Kamal / CalMatters / August 31, 2021
Californians can all vote by mail in the recall. Here’s how
Jon Healey / Los Angeles Times / August 30, 2021
Here’s what to know about voting in the California governor recall election
Kim Bojórquez / The Sacramento Bee / August 29, 2021
Drop off or in person? Where to vote in the California recall election
Madalyn Amato / Los Angeles Times / August 27, 2021
California Gubernatorial Recall Election – Frequently Asked Questions
California Secretary of State / 2021
Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail (RAVBM)
California Secretary of State / 2021
Fact check: No, California’s recall ballot was not designed to help Gavin Newsom and cheat Larry Elder
Alexei Koseff / San Francisco Chronicle / August 20, 2021
Will your write-in vote in California’s recall election count? Maybe not
Jon Healey / The Los Angeles Times / August 16, 2021
Newsom wants voters to ignore the recall ballot’s second question. They don’t have to.
John Myers and Seema Mehta / Los Angeles Times / August 9, 2021
How to vote in California’s recall election
Deborah Sullivan Brennan / The San Diego Tribune / August 1, 2021
How the 5 most populous states have overhauled their election systems
Sara Swann / The Fulcrum / July 28, 2021