By Manny Otiko, IVN
Statewide — State and local politicians have begun reaching out to the media and public to educate them about the upcoming recall election.
Dr. Shirley Weber, Sec. of State, held a meeting with members of the ethnic media last week. Ethnic Media Services organized the briefing. The goal of the briefing was to discuss the finer points of the recall.
According to Weber, the recall asks two questions. The first question is, do you want to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. (If Newsom gets a more than 50% majority of votes, he stays in office.) The other question is if you want to remove Newsom, who do you want to replace him?
There are currently 46 candidates in the race to replace Newsom. They include talk show host Larry Elder, reality star Caitlyn Jenner, and several other politicians, activists and regular citizens. According to Weber, all of the candidates are listed on the Sec. of State’s website.
Weber also listed important election dates. She said mail-in ballots will be sent out on Aug. 16. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked no later than election day.
Voters can also track the ballots through a link on the Sec. of State’s website called Where’s my ballot. The election will be conducted on Sept. 14. In-person voting takes place at your local election precinct. Weber stated the vote will be certified on Oct. 22.
Weber said she’s talking to the media because she wants to ensure people get accurate information about the upcoming election.
“This is going to be a very publicized election,” she said.
However, there are some controversial issues about the upcoming recall. For example, no matter what happens, there’s going to be another statewide election in 2022. So if Newsom survives the recall, he’ll be up for election next year.
This makes some people question the logic of having a recall. And this recall election is not cheap. Weber said that when you combine all the election workers’ salaries, publicity, printing ballots, ect. the total cost will be more than $300 million.
Also, Weber said that even if the election is decided in the fall, it may still end up in the courts.
Weber admitted that the recall reveals some structural problems in the California political system. She said we have a very low bar for a recall.
Some political experts say a recall is a way for the California Republican Party to get around winning a state election. With Democrats controlling the executive and the legislature and Republicans in the minority, it’s increasingly difficult for them to win state elections in California. So they’ve opted to get around that by going for recalls.
In 2003, a recall removed Democrat Gov. Gray Davis and installed movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. According to the Sec. of State’s website, there have been 179 recalls in state history; only six have been successful. The last successful recall in 2018 removed Sen. Josh Newman, a Democrat, and installed Republican Ling Ling Chang.
However, Weber said that the recall aligns with other nationwide Republican efforts to get around democracy. Around the country, political watchers have seen a wave of voter suppression laws, including some that allow Republicans to overturn elections. Arizona is currently on its second recount of the 2020 election. And some Republicans are calling for other recounts in other states, such as Michigan, in an attempt to reinstall former President Donald Trump in office.
Weber admitted that she sees more of these kinds of attempts in the future.
In San Bernardino County, Registrar of Voters Robert Page recently held a media roundtable to discuss the upcoming election.
According to Page, there are four ways to vote in the recall; by mail, early voting, dropbox, and polling stations.
The coronavirus pandemic election affected the last general election. According to information from the Registrar’s Office, in 2020, 82% of county residents voted by mail. Page added that election workers will take precautions to protect against Covid-19 in the recall election.
He said his office was coordinating with local law enforcement to ensure election security. Page also said there were some incidents of people voting twice during the 2020 election. These were referred to the District Attorney’s office for further investigation.
Inland Valley News coverage of local news in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.