By Satia Austin, Special to California Black Media
A rare event is underway in California – a special election to recall the governor. Voters around the state have already started to return their vote-by-mail ballots. Election day, Sept. 14, will be the last chance for your voice to be heard in determining whether Gov. Gavin Newsom stays or is replaced as our state’s chief executive.
We all share one honor. That’s calling San Diego home. As your North San Diego NAACP president, I encourage all members of our community to get out and vote — either by mail or in person at the polls. The NAACP’s message to Black Californians is this: no matter who you choose, no matter where you’re from or what your background is, vote in this election. If you are not registered, it’s not too late to register to vote in person.
On the recall ballot, there are two questions. The first asks if you support recalling (i.e., firing) Gov. Newsom. If more than 50% of the voters support the recall, the ballot’s second question which lists all the recall candidates vying to be governor will tell us who Newsom’s replacement will be. Whoever receives the most votes will hold the office through January 2023, the remainder of Newsom’s term.
Your vote matters because this election will decide who will be the executive in charge of the world’s fifth largest economy and responsible for public policy serving 40 million Californians.
We at the NAACP have been part of a nationwide movement that, for over a century, has fought and seen people sacrifice their lives in the struggle for voting rights for Black Americans. We stand on the shoulders of giants, people like Fred Hampton, the young activist and founder of the antiracist multi-cultural movement, Rainbow Coalition, who was murdered by the state in 1967. The FBI sprayed over 90 gunshots into Hampton’s apartment. Because of his sacrifice — and that of others fighting for racial equity — the right to vote as a US citizen should never be taken for granted. The democratic process fails when people don’t vote.
Thankfully, our state makes voting so convenient that there is no excuse for anyone not to vote. In 2016, California lawmakers passed the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA expanded early voting in San Diego County. Traditional polling places have been replaced with vote centers which serve as a one-stop shops for all your voting needs.
At a vote center, you can vote in person, get help in multiple languages, cast your vote by using an accessible voting machine, and utilize same day registration. Voters can vote at any center in the county up to 10 days before election day.
All registered San Diego County voters have been sent a ballot in the mail. Returned ballots have already been counted. The deadline for registering or re-registering for the recall election was Monday, Aug. 30. If you missed the deadline, you can “conditionally” register and vote at any vote center after the voter registration deadline, up to and including election day.
The Secretary of State’s office offers a tool to help you find early voting and ballot drop-off locations in your neighborhood. You can use the BallotTrax tool to confirm that your vote has been counted.
About the Author
Satia Austin is the President of the North San Diego NAACP.