California Recall Election Results 2021

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Election result data in San Diego County as of September 15, 2021, 5:29 p.m.

By CalMatters Staff

Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is keeping his job, but the final California recall election vote tally is still days away.

A reminder: the recall ballot had two questions.

Question 1 asked: “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”

A yes vote was against Newsom and aimed to boot him from office. A no vote was for retaining Newsom through the end of his first term.

Question 2 said: “Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:”

If more than 50% of voters had said yes on the first question, Newsom would have been removed from office. Then whoever had the most votes among the 45 active candidates listed on the second question and seven write-in candidates — no matter how few and even if they didn’t win a majority — would have become governor in late October for the rest of Newsom’s term.

California takes a relatively long time to count ballots — and not because of any fraud.

Due to the pandemic, all active registered voters received a ballot in the mail. To make it easier to vote, the state lets Californians mail in a ballot postmarked as late as Election Day — in this case Sept. 14 — and have it counted so long as it arrives within seven days.

And the results could change significantly, although not enough to cast Newsom’s victory in doubt — and not because of any conspiracy.

Because Democrats have embraced voting by mail more than Republicans, ballots that arrived before Election Day trended heavily in favor of Democrats and were reported first. As in the pandemic election of 2020, more Republicans were expected to vote in person and were obviously more likely to support the recall.

The secretary of state has as many as 38 days after the election to certify the official results, by Oct. 22.

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