California Democrats Look To End Recall Sideshow With Earlier Vote

Lawmakers cut out some red tape, but only when it serves the party.


How confident are California Democrats that Gov. Gavin Newsom will survive an upcoming recall vote? They're speeding up the process so that there's less time before the vote and—accordingly—less time for his opponents to make their case.

On Monday, Democratic state lawmakers passed a bill—which Newsom quickly signed—that will allow the state to bypass one of the steps of the recall process and shave as much as 30 days off the time it takes to arrange the election.

Part of the complex process to put a recall vote on the ballot in California involves having the Department of Finance put together a cost estimate for the recall to be reviewed by a legislative budget committee within 30 days. This has to be done before the recall can be certified and scheduled. This new bill, S.B. 152, will allow this step to be bypassed if lawmakers have already appropriated the funds for the recall.

Counties have estimated the recall election will cost about $215 million, and lawmakers have already agreed to cover it. This faster timeline could have voters deciding whether to recall Newsom in September rather than in late October or November.

Why is it such a complicated process to get a recall election on the ballot even after the signatures are verified? After all, lawmakers can't look at these costs and then decide they're not willing to pay for recall. That's just not an option.

Comically, it turns out Democratic lawmakers are themselves responsible for the red tape they're now trying to eliminate. Four years ago, Democratic lawmakers added this step to slow down a recall effort. They hoped that this would protect State Sen. Josh Newman (D–Fullerton) from being recalled in 2018. It failed: Newman was recalled anyway and replaced by Republican Ling Ling Chang. Then Newman was voted back into office in 2020.

Right now, Newsom seems well-positioned to hold off the recall effort. He's giving out cash prizes to convince people to get vaccinated, the state's economy is humming along, people are optimistic about the future, and 57 percent of voters say they aren't likely to recall him, based on a May poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

Meanwhile, Ballotpedia counts 68 people who have thus far announced their intent to run as replacements for Newsom should he be recalled. In all likelihood, many of these people won't actually file, and many of them are just looking for attention.

As for the Democratic maneuvering, it's terrible that one political party is manipulating the electoral process in whichever way they think will best protect their incumbents. But in this particular case, it's more objectionable that Democrats added red tape in the first place. Making the recall process more efficient should be a good thing. Unfortunately, in this case, it's an indicator that the election process is prone to manipulation by a single dominant party for the purpose of maintaining power.

NEXT: In an Unprecedented Heat Wave, Portland's Lingering COVID Restrictions Hurt Bars and Restaurants Again

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  1. That’s exactly what a dirty politician would do. But I repeat myself.

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  2. It failed: Newman was recalled anyway and replaced by Republican Ling Ling Chang. Then Newman was voted back into office in 2020.


  3. This might be the thread to mention, once again, that in California, we’re only allowed to choose between two Democrats when we vote for Senate. In 2016, we were given the choice to Kamala Harris, a progressive Democrat, or Loretta Sanchez, a progressive Democrat.

    The next time you see a progressive tell you how much they care about the integrity of our elections, open up the following link and just stare at it for a second. It’s not that the rules were written so that the primaries determine the outcome of the general election, and the primaries are controlled by government employees, unions, and the Democrat machine. The predictable outcome of that being two Democrat senators to choose from in the general election is just a coincidence. Who knew?!

    In 2020, more people voted for Donald Trump in California than voted for Trump in Florida. In 2022, they’ll have two Democrats to choose from. If there were ever a situation in California where it looked like there might be two Republicans to choose from, they’d find a reason to change the law in no time.

    California would strip us of the vote entirely if they could. Since the state is run by the machine and dominated in the primaries, who we vote for hardly makes much of a difference anyway, and we can’t be counted on to vote the way we should on the initiatives. Why should the progressive of California want people to vote?

    And it’s too expensive! It will cost $215 million? Couldn’t that money be better spent on CalTrans pensions, subsidizing solar panels for the wealthy, or building a bullet train to nowhere?

    1. It’s the top two primary system. Which was championed and pushed by a Republican, Abel Maldanado. A genuine conservative of the classic sort, but he was wrong on this procedural issue. Very wrong.

      1. Actually, it’s a blanket primary, and IF IF IF the idiot that championed it was a Republican, so what? I know a Republican who shot himself in the leg.

        Do you expect the Democratic party of California, the unions, or the government employees will supporting getting rid of it at this point?

        1. Nope, it’s permanent. Democrats have a machine, so they can keep extra Democrats out of the primaries so they don’t dilute the Democrat vote.

          Republicans still make the playoffs in Republican districts. The real losers were the third parties, who you will NEVER see ever again unless you request their ballot for the primary.

      2. The main point of top two was to kill the third parties. Dems wanted to kill the Greens and Repubs wanted to kill the Libertarians, so they put forth the “bi-partisan” top two idea. And it worked.

    2. Also, the initiatives haven’t been going their way lately. I expect them to be more proactive in keeping initiatives they don’t like off the ballot, so we only get to see all the bond measures instead. But it would take a citizen initiative to change the state constitution to stop the citizen initiatives. Catch-22 for the thugs.

      1. “Also, the initiatives haven’t been going their way lately.

        Yeah, and that’s why I brought it up.

        Why should a single party let us vote at all, when we don’t vote the way they want?

    3. Same thing (basically) we are doing in the St. Louis City mayor’s race now. Not that our fair city would ever elect a republican anyway – I think every single alderperson (city council member) is a democrat – but we still got to choose between two progressive democrats for mayor this spring.

      1. What a shitty, fucked up system!

  4. Newsom wants the recall vote over quick so he can bet back to imposing lockdowns on the citizens while he dines at five star restaurants.

    Seriously, that’s what it is. He is looking good now because the lockdowns are (mostly) done. But the Covid infections while spike again in the fall, during election season, and he wants to be able to lock shit down again without getting punished by a recall vote. Follow the money, follow the votes.

      1. Also, the smoke from a distant fire.

  5. Side note for anyone not from here, but September is Santa Ana season. Warm, dry, Easterly winds tend to be most common in Autumn, like labor day to mid October, and those are usually the highest winds that cause shutting down the grid in areas, or that are most likely to drive fast moving wildfires.

    Getting a vote at Labor Day instead of Halloween mitigates one more thing that really pisses people off. Can’t keep the lights on, so much bureaucracy involved CalFire can’t even do wildfire mitigation (like controlled burns to make natural fire breaks during the winter), and similar talking points are still potent weapons.

    Newsome isn’t going to be recalled. Nobody ever thought he would be. But the threat has to be there, else we’d still be in lockdowns and forced to wear masks 24/7.

    1. And once he’s survived the recall you’ll be back in lockdowns.

      1. they are already masking up again in LA, next the whole state of fear

        1. Read an article in one of the San Francisco papers about “socializing is fun, but really really frightening” or something.

          The guy’s vaccinated. In the most vaccinated area, where natural immunity and vaccines have led to a point where there is VERY little chance of encountering the virus. And the whole article is about how many masks he has and his gloves and extra sanitizer…

          He wrote that. in a widely circulated paper. And has no problem telling the whole world what a pussy he is, and how he doesn’t understand science (fomites are not a major spreader) or risk (he’s about as likely to have a bad covid result as to be hit by lightning).

          Folks like that are making the rules in some places. Seriously, it’s either zero or we all suffer. “But, there’s not a zero chance” when, realistically, at a place with 90% vaccinated or naturally immune, a hundred common things are more likely to cause you harm.

          Alas, Newsome is from SF. The Bay Area is not all of California, but they have state politics locked up for a decade, and always had an outsized influence. And this pussy at the SF Chronicle is who Newsome is pandering to.

          1. wow — goddamn I’m grouchy today. Sorry about that everyone.

            Oh, and get off my lawn.

            1. More people seem to be masking up OUTDOORS now in Sunnyvale than back a few months ago when vaccination rates were much lower. Also, still seeing the ole Elbow Bump going on….

          2. The mask edict ended on June 15th in California. About 90% of people in stores are still wearing masks.

            1. Depends on where you’re at. In the Bay Area I’ve heard they still LOVE them some masks. I have seen pictures in the paper of bands playing on the street outside a restaurant, outdoors, spread out, all wearing masks.

              Here it’s maybe half and half. Well, last time I was in a supermarket, at least. Oddly, all of us older folks, say 40 and over (up to one very elderly lady) were the ones relaxed and going about our business last time I hit the Sprouts. The maskers were all younger.

              Stater Brothers it’s 50/50 and scattered all ages.

              Everywhere else I go the masker is by far in the minority.

              Now that I type this it’ll be interesting to go to the stores this week now that we’ve had two weeks for the rule-followers to realize that nobody gives a shit if they wear a mask or not.

            2. Ours ended in mid May. In my area, very few people took their masks off the first few days, and it became more and more common as the weeks went on, and it became more normal to see unmasked people in the grocery stores and restaurants. By mid June, it was maybe 1 in 3 people who might be masked up on my typical trip to the store.

              Now it’s maybe 1 in 10. Most of the employees aren’t even wearing them anymore now that the companies made it optional for them.

    2. You know who else thought he’d never be recalled?

      1. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

  6. He’s giving out cash prizes to convince people to get vaccinated”
    thats not all his adds are claiming he is giving people unemployment extension he is claiming he is helping business with grants, he is going to pay off all the back rents owed. he isn’t, our tax dollars are but the sheep will follow the money. He is literally using our money to convince people to vote for him.

    1. He’s the reason the few surviving businesses actually need the grants.

    2. This cannot be stressed enough. I am surprised it didn’t make the article. He is paying everyones rent THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2021, not just 2020 back payments owed. You can’t have an election in October, 30 days after the free rent checks stop 😉

  7. Wait a minute — signature verification? What happened to believe all voters?

    And Newsom is cooked either way. They’re just hoping to hold the vote before the fall fire season or before some new COVID variant makes him reissue the unpopular lockdowns and edicts again.

    1. And it’s not “vote for Newsom or one of the 85 clowns running for governor”.

      It’s “should Newsom be recalled, Yes or No” (which will be a resounding Yes, the anti-Newsom factor is motivated), followed by:

      “If Newsom is recalled, which of these 85 clowns do you prefer?”

    2. Wait a minute — signature verification? What happened to believe all voters?

      Democrats on the California recall – “Every signature must be matched or rejected”

      Meanwhile, one state over;

      Democrats on the Arizona election audit – “We’re petitioning against signature matching because it’s racist or something”

      It’s unbelievable, and the media regurgitates the gaslighting.

  8. CA politicians are so incurably corrupt, it’s sickening. Single-party system where your votes don’t matter. I should have expected a stunt like this in lieu of an actual fair election.

  9. If you actually read the bill, the democrat supermajority also decreased the amount of early voting (10 day before election) polling sites by 66%, the amount of 3-day before election polling sites by about 20% and increased the amount of time and time periods to count vote by mail ballots.

    And all these changes only apply to recall elections held before January 1, 2022.

    Blatant corruption.

  10. Newsom’s Aunt Nancy would be so proud.

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  13. This article is spot on, but to give California credit, at least we have a recall process. Most States don’t, and that is a big mistake. The real zinger to all this is the Statewide eviction moratorium getting extended past the recall date, so that all the mess that will unfold happens after the recall. Oh, and of course, the State is mailing people checks.

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