Gubernatorial Recall Election

Gubernatorial Recall Election

Election Day is September 14, 2021

polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Personally delivered ballots: Must be delivered by close of polls on September 14, 2021
Mailed ballots: Must be postmarked on or before September 14, 2021, and received by your county elections office no later than September 21, 2021.

How does a recall work?

California is one of just 19 states that permits the recall of state officials. It is also one of 11 states that allows any registered voter to launch a recall campaign for any reason. Governor Gavin Newsom finds himself the target of a successful petition for recall, which means Californians can vote on whether or not he stays in office.

There have been 179 recall attempts since 1913. Only 10 have ever qualified for the ballot. Of those, just six succeeded. The most high-profile was the successful recall of Governor Gray Davis in 2003. He was succeeded by Arnold Schwarzenegger. There were also seven recall attempts against Schwarzenegger, but all failed to make the ballot.

To get a recall election on the ballot, a petition must be signed by enough registered voters to equal 12% of the turnout for the last election for governor and include at least 1% of the last vote for the office in at least five counties. Those promoting the recall have 160 days to gather signatures.

The California secretary of state has to verify the signatures. Voters who signed the petition have 30 business days to change their minds. That deadline to reconsider passed June 8. The final number of adjusted signatures, at least 1,495,709, were due June 22. More than 1.7 million people signed the Newsom recall petition, so campaigning had started by Father’s Day.

If the signatures are all verified, state election officials have 30 days to determine a budget and then the state legislature has 30 days to review the budget. After that, the election date can be set.

Nearly every recall effort in California has been politically motivated. Most people believe the recall of Gov. Newsom is related to the safety measures and lockdowns he put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, as well as the abundance of caution used in reopening the state. The initial effort to recall the governor started in February 2020, and according to media reports, the petitioners’ complaints include concerns about immigration policies, the death penalty, tax rates, and the high rates of homelessness.

How will this recall election work?

The election will be held on Tuesday, September 14. There will be a period of early and absentee voting. People will be able to vote in person or by mail. The ballot will consist of two questions:

  1. Do they want to recall Gov. Newsom? Yes or no.

  2. If you vote “yes,” who should replace him?

If more than 50% of voters vote “no,” Newsom remains governor. If not, more than 40 Republican and Independent candidates wishing to replace him have registered to appear on the ballot.

Recall ballots have two parts. Must voters vote on both parts of the recall ballot?

No. Voters can vote on either one or both parts of the recall ballot. A voter can vote “no” to the question of removing the current elected officer from office and also select a replacement candidate.

Who can vote in a gubernatorial recall election?

Any California registered voter may vote in a gubernatorial recall election.

To check your voter registration status, go to If you need to update your voter registration or find out if you are eligible to register to vote, you can visit California’s Online Voter Registration page at

For more information you can also call NALEO Educational Fund’s bilingual voter information hotline at 888-VE-Y-VOTA.

Will every active registered voter be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot?

Yes. Every active registered voter will be mailed a vote-by-mail ballot for the recall election. Counties will begin to mail vote-by-mail ballots approximately 29 days before Election Day.

If you did not receive your ballot or misplaced it, call NALEO Educational Fund’s bilingual voter information hotline at 888-VE-Y-VOTA to receive more information on your county’s process to request a replacement ballot.

Why is AltaMed doing this work to engage communities in the civic engagement process?

AltaMed’s roots have been in social justice since our founding as the East LA Barrio Free Clinic more than 50 years ago. Another component of community health centers like ours is to address the symptoms of poor health outcomes with services like case management, transportation services, and health education. We refer to this as addressing the social determinants of health. Equity and social justice have remained at the core of everything we do. To that end, our vision is rooted in one basic principle: That civic engagement is a catalyst for change and health equity. AltaMed launched its formal civic engagement efforts in 2018. Since then, we have been building our foundation and infrastructure to reach deeply and effectively into the hardest to reach communities across California. The result: AltaMed has developed a validated, measurable and replicable Integrated Civic Engagement 5-Touch Model, using community clinics as hubs, as the means to reach communities like our service areas. We are in a position of strength to do our part through this model, and our experience, to engage and support Latinos in getting vaccinated.


For more information for how and where to vote, visit - Where and How to Vote :: California Secretary of State

Remember that you have rights as a voter - Voter Bill of Rights

Time Off to Vote - The California Elections Code section 14001 requires employers to post a notice to employees advising them of provisions for taking paid leave for the purpose of voting in statewide elections.

Official Voter Information Guide

For more information you can also call NALEO Educational Fund’s bilingual voter information hotline at 888-VE-Y-VOTA or visit

Informational source: California Secretary of State