Here’s how Democrats, Republicans and others say you should vote in the California recall

A man and a woman put their ballots into a drop box at Carl Thornton Park in Santa Ana in last year's election.
Caitlin Harjes and Angel Santiago deposit their mail-in ballots for the 2020 general election in an official drop box in Santa Ana last October. All registered California voters will get a mail-in ballot for this year’s recall vote.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Californians have until Sept. 14 to decide: Should Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled? And if so, who should replace him?

All registered voters in California will receive a mail-in ballot. It has two questions:

  1. Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?
  2. Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled [followed by a list of candidates].

How you vote is up to you, but here’s what your vote will mean and what various political parties, newspapers and others are saying.

This is what voters need to know about the Sept. 14 recall election.

Aug. 29, 2021


What your votes mean

If you answer “no” to the first question, that means you want Newsom to stay in office and finish his term, which ends Jan. 2, 2023.

If your answer to the first question is “yes,” that means you want Newsom out of office and replaced within 38 days of the election. Newsom’s successor would serve for the remainder of Newsom’s term — a little over a year.

It’s worth noting that there is a regular gubernatorial election on Nov. 8, 2022, in which Newsom plans to run (he would have to win a primary first). So if he’s recalled now, he could be reelected next November and back in office in January 2023.

Regardless of how you vote on the first question, the second question is a chance to vote for whom you want to replace Newsom if he is recalled. A total of 46 certified candidates are on the ballot, and there’s also a write-in option. Note that you can’t write in “Gavin Newsom”; state law doesn’t permit him to replace himself.

In the gubernatorial recall election, you can vote for a write-in candidate. But only certain write-in votes will be counted.

Sept. 3, 2021

What parties and others are saying

California Democratic Party: The state’s Democrats urge you to vote “no” on Question 1 and leave Question 2 blank.

California Republican Party: The state’s Republicans want you to vote “yes” on Question 1, but it did not endorse a candidate to replace Newsom.


President Biden: Biden released a statement saying “registered California voters should vote no on the recall election by September 14 and keep California moving forward.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi said that recalling Newsom would “not [be] good for children and other living things,” and urged Californians to vote “no” in the election.

Los Angeles Times Editorial Board: The Times Editorial Board urged voters to say “no” to Question 1. The board’s suggestion for a replacement? Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer — “the least terrible of all ... bad options.” The board, which is a group of opinion journalists who are not part of Times’ news coverage, said voters should not skip Question 2: Leaving it blank “would hand the decision-making power to others who do vote — and those voters may be uninformed, irrationally angry and looking for someone to take a far-right turn on issues like climate change, environmental protection, civil rights, policing and vaccination. That’s too great a gamble. We’re left to conclude that voters who oppose the recall should also vote for a replacement — even if they have to hold their noses to do so.”

Our editorial board urges a NO vote on Question 1, whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. On Question 2, we think former Mayor Kevin Faulconer of San Diego is the only responsible option.

Aug. 13, 2021

San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board: The editorial board of The Times’ sister paper also recommends a “no” vote, while urging reform for the recall process. It did not recommend a candidate to replace Newsom.

Southern California News Group: The editorial board of the chain of newspapers that includes the Orange County Register, the L.A. Daily News, the Riverside Press-Enterprise and several others urged voters to say “yes” to Question 1. That board also endorsed talk radio personality and author Larry Elder to replace Newsom.


San Francisco Chronicle: Newsom’s hometown paper’s editorial board is dismissive of the entire recall, saying that to evaluate the recall candidates “would be tantamount to seriously considering a recall that has earned no such consideration.”

Bakersfield Californian: The Californian’s editorial board urged voters to say “yes” to Question 1. Their suggestion for a replacement is Faulconer — who “has extensive elective and governing experience, as well as a reputation for working across the aisle.” The board cites wildfires, housing prices, the homelessness crisis and Newsom’s efforts to curb fossil fuel production as reasons why its members and their readers are dissatisfied with the governor.

Fresno Bee: The Fresno Bee editorial board urged voters to vote “no” to Question 1. Although the board did acknowledge that Newsom has “made mistakes,” none have been egregious enough for him to be recalled, it argues. The board did not make a recommendation for another suitable candidate.

Sacramento Bee: The Sacramento Bee editorial board urged voters to say “no” to Question 1, but to also fill out the entire ballot. It did not, however, endorse a candidate for Question 2.

The Mercury News: The Mercury News editorial board urged voters to vote “no” to Question 1. It called the recall effort an “opportunistic, partisan effort to thwart the will of the people and unseat the governor in an extraordinary time of uncertainty and anxiety.” The editorial board did not make any recommendations for Question 2.

Former Gov. Jerry Brown: Newsom’s predecessor has come out in support of the incumbent governor and urged Californians to vote “no” on Question 1. He told CNN that recalling Newsom is “not good for California.”

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Hollywood star who became governor in the 2003 election that recalled Gray Davis has not made an official endorsement in the recall. He said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that he hoped as many people as possible would become candidates.

Former Gov. Gray Davis: Recalled himself, Davis predicted in February that Newsom’s chance of being recalled was slim because of the small percentage of Republican voters in California. Just 24% of voters in the 2020 election identified as Republican, versus 46.3% who identified as Democrats.