Here’s how to vote in the recall election

Ballots for the California governor recall election can be returned at any official ballot dropbox before the deadline on Sept. 14. The locations of Los Angeles County ballot boxes, as well as voting centers where ballots can be cast in person, can be found online at / photo illustration by Brady Keegan

Lindsey Pacela
News Editor

The recall election for Gov. Gavin Newsom has become a critical election for the citizens of California as it will determine the future of the state in multiple ways. 

It is highly unusual for a recall election to occur, as the last one for governor was in 2003 where the recall was accomplished and the new governor put into place was Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

For an unusual election at an unusual time, how to vote can be a little confusing.

For the Sept. 14 California gubernatorial recall election, there are two initial options – “Yes” or “No,” with a list of possible candidates for replacement of Gavin Newsom, our current governor. A vote of  “No” means you would like Newsom to remain in office and finish out his term, which ends in 2022. A “Yes” means that you would like Newsom removed from office. From there, you can choose a candidate from the available list of 46 on the ballot to replace him, or you can fill in a name of your choice that is unlisted in the blank box indicating so.

“There’s a frustration around this particular recall because it feels like we don’t have complete information,” said Gitty Amini, a political science professor at the University of La Verne. This in turn puts pressure on the voter to do their research, but not everyone is motivated to do so.

“I would tell people, if you feel that way, it’s not just you, I’m a political scientist and I’m feeling that way about this election,” Amini said. 

“Voting is the primary leverage that ordinary citizens have over the political process,” Jason Neidleman, a professor of political science at La Verne, said.

While voting by mail may seem fairly new, it has in fact been available for Californians since 1962 according to the vote by mail history on the California Secretary of State’s site. While in previous years, voting by mail has been an option, for this election, as in the  2020 presidential election,  ballots were mailed to every eligible voter in California due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So for this election, voting by mail has been made simple. Once you receive your ballot, simply open it up to find a letter of instructions that will take you through the process. No matter how voters choose to vote, what is important is that the ballot is received properly in order to ensure that it is counted. A mail-in ballot does not require postage, and can be dropped off at any local post office, but it must be postmarked no later than Sept. 14. 

If you choose to turn in your ballot to a Registrar of Voters office, drop off location, or polling place, it must be done so on the same date in order to be counted. Included in the instructions for your ballot is tracking information so that you can find out in real time when your vote was received and counted.

As always, most questions can be answered about voting through the California’s Secretary of State site at

Lindsey Pacela can be reached at


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