Thousands of Californians have collected signatures to recall Governor Gavin Newsom since the beginning of the pandemic.
The effort recently had almost 1.2 million signatures validated and around 300,000 more signatures are needed to qualify for a recall election. A total of 1,495,709 valid signatures, which accounts for 12% of votes cast for Newsom when he was elected in 2018, are required for a recall election to take place as stated by state law.
On the March 17 deadline for signatures, recall organizers submitted 2.1 million signatures, an amount well over the required amount of signatures needed.
If the effort collects the required amount of signatures and the signatures are verified by state officials by April 29, which is likely, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis will officially call for a special recall election. After this, voters will decide whether Newsom is recalled and who the potential governor replacing him in this special election will be.
In the case of a special recall election, a majority of voters are required to recall Newsom and the candidate with the most votes would replace him.
Recall proponents have cited Newsom’s inadequate response to a range of issues including dealing with small businesses during the pandemic, immigration, homelessness and more.
If the recall movement succeeds, Newsom will be the second governor recalled in the history of California. The first successful governor recall was for Governor Gray Davis in 2003, who was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
A variety of Republican candidates have pledged to run against Newsom in the special recall election including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, businessman John Cox, Major Williams and former Congressman Doug Ose.
Former police officer Orrin Heatlie is a lead proponent of the recall movement but the movement is a grassroots effort with thousands of volunteers collecting signatures at local grocery stores and parking lots.
The movement has hit close to home with stands asking for signatures appearing in nearby cities such as Fountain Valley and Huntington Beach.
Fountain Valley High School senior Cielo Chavarria expressed her opinion on the recall.
“Quite frankly, I think the recall is absurd … [Newsom] has handled the pandemic with urgency since the beginning,” Chavarria said.