Recall against Newsom gains traction

Gavin Newsom
Posted at 4:55 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 20:20:00-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The recall effort against Governor Gavin Newsom continues to gain traction. One of the organizations in charge of the effort says more than 1.2 million signatures have been collected, which potentially brings them closer to the next step.

According to, organizers are less than 300,000 signatures shy of putting Governor Newsom's recall effort on a California ballot, but 23ABC's political analyst says it’s not that simple.

“Ultimately, all of the county canvassing boards, and ultimately, the secretary of state has to look at all these signatures,” said Jeremy Adams, political science teacher at BHS and CSUB.

As far as recalls go, the California Secretary of State’s Office says that when a large number of signatures are collected, history shows some are likely to be rejected as invalid during the verification process. That’s why Political Science Teacher Jeremy Adams believes it’s unlikely the effort will get enough signatures.

“To be safe you probably need to get to about two million votes. And they’re about 800,000 shy with only seven weeks to go," said Adams.

In the event enough signatures are collected, Newsom would not immediately be removed from office. Adams says a special election would be held and there would be two different questions on the ballot.

“The first question is: should the governor be recalled? And you say yes or no on that,” said Adams.

If more than 50% of voters choose not to recall the governor, then the process ends there and Newsom stays in office. But if more than 50% want him out, that’s where the second question comes into play, who do voters want as the next governor.

"Almost anybody can run for governor in a recall effort,” said Adams.

The threshold for a candidate to run in a recall election is pretty low because a nomination from one of the major parties is not required. 135 people ran in the California recall election in 2003. Adams says the vote is a plurality, which means whichever candidate gets the most votes, wins.

“If you have a small but loyal following of people, on a ballot that has 200 or 300 names, you could get 2% of the vote and 'shabam,' you’re the governor of California,” added Adams.

Adams says if the petition gets enough signatures, Newsom would be in the hot seat, because of midterms, and recalls tend to have a more conservative turnout than other California elections. He also says those who signed the petition will be more motivated to turn out as well. Organizers of the recall effort would want that vote to take place this summer.