Today is the last day for California residents to cast their votes in a gubernatorial election that could potentially remove current Gov. Gavin Newsom from office.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Registrar told The Epoch Times there were 108,416 check-ins for voting in-person, and 1.2 million mail-in ballots returned as of Tuesday afternoon.
The unofficial results are expected to be posted at 8:40 p.m. tonight, but the election will not be certified until the first week of October due to the high number of mail-in ballots. Mail-in ballots may be counted as long as they’re postmarked by election day, the spokesperson said.
In the first section of the ballot, voters will be asked whether they want to vote to recall Newsom; in the second part, they may pick the candidate they prefer in case the recall passes.
If more than 50 percent of voters vote “no” on the recall question, Newsom will stay in office; if more than 50 percent of voters vote “yes,” then the recall passes, and the candidate with the highest number of votes will be chosen. A voter who voted “no” on the recall question may also vote for a replacement candidate, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
If the recall passes, the election will be certified by the Secretary of State and the new governor will be sworn in within 28 days. If the recall does not pass, then Newsom, who took office in 2018, will remain in office until 2022 when his term is up.
More than 1.6 million California residents signed the recall petition after it was introduced in February 2020—before the COVID-19 pandemic hit—citing unaffordable housing, high taxes, high rates of homelessness, a failing education system and high pension debt.
During the pandemic, Newsom’s pandemic restrictions became a polarizing force for many Californians. Some residents said Newsom’s hesitancy to reopen the state early on in the pandemic put a damper on the state’s economy, while others say the governor’s mandates should have been more strictly enforced to prevent subsequent spikes in COVID-19 cases.
In Nov. 2020, Newsom attended a birthday party at the French Laundry—a birthday gathering with people from multiple households and medical lobbyists, after the governor advised Californians to avoid holiday gatherings with people from more than one household.
On Sept. 13, President Joe Biden visited Long Beach to promote Newsom’s campaign, calling Republican candidate Larry Elder a “clone of Donald Trump.” At his final campaign stop in San Pedro, Elder said he anticipates victory with a surge of incoming votes in his favor on Election Day.
As of the morning of Sept. 14, FiveThirtyEight polls estimated that 57.3 percent of Californians voted to keep Gavin Newson, while 41.5 percent voted to remove him from office. Elder is the lead replacement candidate with an estimated 29.7 percent of the votes; behind him is Democratic real estate agent and YouTuber Kevin Paffrath at 6.1 percent, and Republican former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer at 5.1 percent.