California Recall Voter Guide

An official ballot drop box sits outside the San Dimas Public Library. The box is open daily for voters to drop off their mail-in ballots for the 2021 California gubernatorial recall election. Photo: Rommel Alcantara

By Megan Bender

Although every California governor since 1959 has faced a recall attempt, for the first time in almost two decades, and only the second time in state history, California voters will decide Governor Gavin Newsom’s fate on Sept. 14 in a gubernatorial recall election.

Here’s what you need to know about where to vote, what’s on the ballot and what happens after.

Where to vote

County elections offices began sending mail-in ballots to all registered California voters on Aug.16. 

In-person polling sites, with drop-off boxes, open for early voting on Sept. 4. More locations will be available on Sept. 11.

For your mail-in ballot to count, you must return your vote-by-mail ballot by mail, with prepaid postage and postmarked by Sept. 14. Or, you can drop off your ballot in-person to a secure ballot drop box at a voting location or your county elections office by 8 p.m. Sept. 14. 

As a registered voter of Los Angeles County, you may vote or drop off your ballot at any vote center or ballot drop-off location in the county.

Statewide, vote-by-mail drop box locations are already open. You can visit these locations to vote or drop off your ballot in San Dimas:

Vote Center: Stanley Plummer/Community Building
245 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773
Sept. 4-13, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sept. 14, 7 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

Ballot Drop Box: San Dimas Public Library
145 N. Walnut Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773
Ballot drop box available outside, 24-hours daily

If you have not received your ballot yet, want to track your mail-in ballot in the future or find out if your ballot has been counted, head over to California’s BallotTrax and sign up. This site does not change or update your voter information. California Secretary of State Dr. Shirley N. Weber has contracted with BallotTrax to provide additional transparency for voters. According to their website, BallotTrax is not allowed to share information provided by the secretary of state with third parties and is prohibited from processing information provided “for unrelated commercial purposes, advertising, or any other purpose other than intended and permitted by the SOS.”

What’s on the ballot

The recall ballot has two prompts: 

1) Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor? (Vote YES or NO)

2) Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled (Vote for ONE)

You can choose from a mix of 46 certified politicians, celebrities and Californian candidates from a variety of professions.

Or, you can write in a candidate. You cannot write in Newsom. Eligible write-in candidates must have filed for candidacy by Aug. 31. The secretary of state will certify the list of write-in candidates on Sept. 3.

You can fill out one or both parts of the recall ballot. If you only want to cast your recall vote, but not pick a replacement candidate, you can do that. If you only want to pick a replacement and not cast a recall vote, you may also do that. 

What happens next

According to the secretary of state, if 50% or more vote no, the governor will remain in office, ending his term on Jan. 2, 2023.

If more than 50% vote yes, the governor will be removed from office and the person with the most votes would replace him.

There will still be an election for governor in 2022. Newsom is already running.


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