The California Secretary of State confirmed it has verified enough signatures to initiate the recall of Governor Gavin Newsom
There were approximately 2,162,774 signatures for a recall election sent to the SOS. As of April 19, 1,626,042, or 80% of signatures, have been deemed valid.
The recall effort needed 1,495,709 verified signatures to trigger a recall election. That number makes up 12% of the 12,464,235 votes cast in the last election for Governor, according to the Secretary of State's website.
According to the SOS reports, Riverside County has 146,610 verified signatures out of the 186,806 total signatures the department received.
County election officials must still continue to verify the validity of any remaining signatures and must report the final signature verification on April 29, 2021.
Before the recall election gets underway, there will be a 30-business day period for voters who want to have their names removed from recall petitions. County elections officials must report the total number of withdrawn signatures to the Secretary of State by June 22, 2021.
The Secretary of State will then determine if the petition still has the required number of valid signatures to initiate a recall election.
Should the number of signatures remain above this required number, the SOS will notify Department of Finance of the results. The Department of Finance will consult with county elections officials and the Secretary of State witin 30 business days of this notification to estimate the costs of the recall election. The estimated cost will be submitted to the Chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC), Governor, and the Secretary of State.
The JLBC then has 30 days to review and comment on the estimate provided to them by the Department of Finance. After these 30 days, the Secretary of State will certify that the proponents have submitted enough valid signatures to qualify the recall for the ballot.
The recall election would take place later this year. The Lieutenant Governor is required to call a recall election to be held no less than 60 days nor more than 80 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures.
Recall elections have different rules than traditional elections, as CalMatters pointed out earlier this year. Even if Newsom gets more votes than his challengers, he could still lose his job.
In recall elections, voters are first asked whether they would like to get rid of the incumbent. The next part is selecting a replacement from the list of challengers. Newsom, the incumbent, would not be on the list.
If the "yes" vote gets more than 50% of votes, whichever challenger comes in first on the replacement list is immediately hired as the state's new governor. The challenger doesn't need to get more than 50% of the vote, they just need to come in first from the list of replacements.
This was the case during California's 2003 recall election, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger won 49% of the vote.
Critics said Newsom has been too restrictive during the health crisis, shuttering businesses and limiting people’s activities far longer than necessary. They also say he has not followed his own directives, notably when he attended a lobbyist’s birthday party at the fancy French Laundry restaurant last fall as he was telling Californians to stay home.
The GOP has only 24% of registered California voters, but organizers said they are attracting Democrats and independents.
"There are a lot of Democrats who are frustrated," Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon conceded after Newsom’s State of the State speech in March. But Rendon, a Democrat who sometimes is at odds with Newsom, said the governor deserves credit, not condemnation, for a smart and measured response to the pandemic.
Republicans running to replace Newsom include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and reality TV star and former Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner, who has never run for elected office. Businessman John Cox, who lost badly to Newsom in 2018, and former Congressman Doug Ose, also are running.
Dozens of other candidates, serious and not, are expected to enter the race.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates.