California Recall System

September 13, 2021

California Recall System

Regarding the Sept.14 recall elections, whether Governor Gavin Newsom survives these
elections or not, Democrats in the state are looking forward to big changes to the California recall system.
“I’ve talked to several key legislators who are all set to rip apart the recall process and put it back
together,” said Garry South who is a Democratic Consultant and former senior political advisor
to Gary Davis, the governor who was recalled in 2003. “Two of the last elected Democratic
governors have been subjected to recall elections in the last 18 years”.

Some of the changes being considered include a deceit standard, increasing the number of
signatures required to be eligible for a recall, and requiring more signatures from the party whose
official is targeted for the recall. Some of the bills banning paying people to get signatures have
already been considered by state lawmakers. The bills require people to read a list of recall
before signing a petition and also allows a politician enduring a recall to run as a substitute


If Newsom is to be recalled, conservative commentator Larry Elder is leading amongst greater
than 40 replacement candidates, but he has less than 30% in most polls. This may cause
Democrats to push changes to state structure.
Shirley Weber, the election supervisor who was appointed by Newsom, set a higher signature
limit and questioned on whether a candidate with less than majority of votes should be able to
win or not.

“It’s not about the pandemic, homelessness, wildfire or French laundry. Republicans haven’t
won a statewide election since 2006 and they can’t win it straight up. So, they are using recall as
a crowbar to open the back door. We should not have recall elections 14 months from a
scheduled gubernatorial election.” Said South.
According to South, the recall regulations are more beneficial for Republicans.


Jon Coupal, president of Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association, told News “Democrats in the
legislatures, since they gained supermajority status, have unleashed an unrelenting assault on
direct democracy. The tools of direct democracy, found by an early progressive – Hiram
Johnson- are a threat to the power structure and to an indolent legislature.”
Johnson was a Progressive Republican governor in 1911 and he was the one who pushed recall
provision into state structure


A ballot in July by Public Policy institute of California discovered that 86% petitioners help
having the recall. But 60% back and only allows officials to be recalled due to illegal or
unethical activities. And 55% support raising the signature limit to 25% from 12% voters that
voted in the last election. Moreover, the ballot discovered 68% are in support of having a runoff
between the top two candidates if none of the candidate succeed in having more that 50% of the
Other than California, elections have been recalled in only two states for governor. Wisconsin in
2011 North Dakota in 1921. These states and many others allow recall elections for any reason
but some states allow recall only on the basis of physical or mental disqualification

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