A campaign is underway to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). Supporters have until March 17 to collect 1,495,709 valid signatures to trigger a recall election. The next official monthly reporting period ends on February 16. On Feb. 10, organizers of the recall effort reported they had collected more than 1.5 million signatures. The deadline for counties to verify these signatures after organizers submit them is April 29.
As of Jan. 6, the end of the last monthly reporting period, supporters had turned in 723,886 signatures. Of those, 485,650 had been processed by the secretary of state, with 75,563 deemed invalid. This meant that supporters had turned in at least 410,087 valid signatures as of Jan. 6.
Recall supporters say Newsom mishandled the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, did not do enough to address the state’s homelessness rate, and supported sanctuary city policies and water rationing. In June 2020, Newsom said President Donald Trump’s (R) supporters were behind the recall effort, which he also said would cost the state $81 million.
A recall election would present voters with two questions. The first would ask whether Gavin Newsom be recalled from the office of governor. The second would ask who should succeed Newsom if he is recalled. A majority vote is required on the first question for the governor to be recalled. The candidate with the most votes on the second question would win the election, no majority required.
Five other recall efforts against Newsom have failed to make the ballot since 2019. Since 1911, there have been 55 attempts to recall a sitting California governor. The only other gubernatorial recall election in California history was the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis (D) that resulted in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) election. More than 100 candidates ran and Schwarzenegger won with 48.58% of the vote.
Between 1921 and 2020, four gubernatorial recall efforts have qualified for the ballot: 1921 (North Dakota), 1988 (Arizona), 2003 (California), and 2012 (Wisconsin). Of those, only two resulted in the sitting governor’s removal from office (Lynn Frazier in North Dakota and Davis in California). In the 1988 Arizona recall, the recall election was canceled following the governor’s impeachment.