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Governor Newsom wants voters to ignore second question on recall ballot

Voters can vote for both questions which ask if Newsom should be removed from office and if he is recalled, who should replace him.

SAN DIEGO — Historically recall elections are confusing for voters. There are only two questions on the ballot and depending on the political interest, one side will tell you to answer one question, the other will say to answer both.

The September 14, gubernatorial recall election sample ballots have been mailed out and include two questions: one asks voters if Governor Gavin Newsom should be removed from office.

If more than 50% of voters say “yes” Newsom will be recalled and the candidate who receives the most votes on the second question will replace him.

Twenty-two of the 46 candidates running to replace Newsom are not Republican: Nine are democrat, three are from a minor party, 10 are no party preference and 24 are republican.  

News 8 political analyst Wendy Patrick said even if you want to keep Newsom in office you still have a say in who could replace him if he is removed from office.

“It's a fantastic question, maybe not so much for Governor Newsom but for voters to actually recognize that they have that opportunity if they do choose,” said Patrick.

Newsom and his campaign to stop the recall are encouraging voters to ignore the second question.

In a statement, Nathan Click, Newsom’s advisor wrote,

"Leave it blank. Voting NO is the only way to block the Republican power grab and prevent the Republican takeover of California."

On Tuesday, The California Democratic Party posted the same statement to social media. 

In many parts of California, ballots are already on their way for the recall election. Remember: Vote NO on the first...

Posted by California Democratic Party on Tuesday, August 10, 2021

"They've made a strategic choice to solely focus on that first question because anything in their minds is a loss,” said News 8 political analyst Laura Fink.

She said unlike the 2003 recall of Democratic Governor Gray Davis, there is not a stand-out Democrat to run in case Newsom is recalled.

“This has been Governor Newsom's strategy since the beginning. One of the big successes he had in fighting this recall campaign is that no big-name Democrat is running in the just-in-case pile,” said Fink.

In 2003, the then Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante was the leading Democratic ticket but was beat by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

With the GOP choosing not to endorse a candidate and the governor’s strategy to ignore the second question this could lead to low voter turnout.

“It is so confusing that the bi-partisan concern is that it might turn some voters off from casting that ballot to begin with,” said Patrick.

Here are some important dates for the recall election:

  • August 5: Sample ballots will be mailed
  • August 16: Vote by mail starts and voting at ROV
  • Sept. 11-13 In person voting at 221 locations 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Sept. 14: Election Day 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • October 14: San Diego Co. will certify results
  • October 22: If a recall is approved, the new governor would take office.

WATCH RELATED: Why did the California Republican Party not endorse anyone in the recall election?

RELATED: California Democratic leaders searching for ways to increase voter turnout | Newsom Recall Updates

RELATED: First look at Governor Newsom recall election ballot

RELATED: Four things to know about the Newsom recall debate

RELATED: GOP leaders reverse push for California recall endorsement

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