WASHINGTON – Californians will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether or not to remove Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, or at least voters who have yet to vote by mail.
California’s unusual recall election, triggered when anti-Newsom organizers collected the roughly 1.5 million signatures needed to re-register him on the ballot, will ask voters to decide whether Newsom should be fired and, the if so, to choose a replacement governor from a list of 46 promising alternatives, with conservative radio host Larry Elder leading the polls.
California, the country’s most populous state and the world’s fifth-largest economy, faces many challenges, from rising costs of living to wildfires and drought. And Newsom alienated some voters during the Covid-19 pandemic when he closed businesses and instituted mask warrants, but was pictured dining without a mask at one of the country’s fanciest restaurants located in the wine region of its state.
Over the summer, polls have shown a neck-and-neck contest among likely voters, but Newsom appears to have regained strength in recent weeks as complacent Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in the l State, began to engage in the race. and make plans to vote.
Most votes should be cast by mail, since the state has decided to send a ballot to every registered voter. Ballots canceled by Tuesday at the latest are admissible.
In-person voting is available and should be widely used by conservatives, many of whom do not trust mail-in ballots after former President Donald Trump demonized them in the 2020 presidential election.
It can take several days to process the results, especially if the race is tight, and California tends to be slow to count the votes.
However, some results will be available as soon as the polls close, as officials are allowed to begin processing mail ballots received before election day. Analysts warn that these results are likely to skew Democrats more than the final voter, as many Republicans would have to wait to vote in person.
Newsom and his allies have described the recall as a right-wing takeover, arguing that someone like Elder could never win California in a normal election. But on a recall, a slim majority could vote to remove Newsom from office, and then a small plurality could install Elder as a replacement, provided he gets more votes than the other 45 candidates.
Elder and other Newsom critics, meanwhile, say the governor has failed to address major issues plaguing the state, such as homelessness, let alone more familiar national issues like the fighting for the mask and vaccine warrants.
Recall elections are rare and only a handful of states allow them. But the last time California had a recall, it succeeded in impeaching former Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, which led to him being replaced by Republican actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
If Newsom succeeds in defeating the recall, which costs taxpayers around $ 215 million, he won’t be getting much rest from the election campaign as he will face voters again next year in his re-election campaign.