Voters in the state of California, the richest and most populous in the United States, will decide on Tuesday (14) whether they want Governor Gavin Newsom to remain in office until the end of his term, slated to end in January 2023, or whether they prefer another politician to take over the state before the deadline.
California’s electoral rules allow for this type of “recall” – recently, there were changes in legislation that made it easier to convene this mechanism: it is necessary to gather the equivalent of 12% of voters who participated in the last ballot.
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For Newsom’s public call, it was necessary gather the signature of 1.5 million voters (California has 40 million inhabitants).
Newsom won in 2018. He won nearly 62 percent of the vote over John Cox, who received 38 percent. The result was not surprising, as California has a leftist bias in American politics. Democratic Party members outnumber Republican Party members by a ratio of two to one.
Photos at an upscale restaurant
This is not the first time opposition to Newsom has tried to revoke his mandate.
One of the things that contributed to the number of signatures being achieved this time were photos of Newsom in a luxury restaurant, without a mask, in November last year, when there was still no vaccine for Covid-19 and there were measures of confinement that he himself had determined.
Have other governors gone through ‘recall’?
All California governors over the past five decades have faced at least one recall referendum attempt. Attempts generally fail.
Only one repeal attempt in California was successful. It happened in 2003, when Governor Gray Davies lost his term and was replaced by Hollywood star Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The actor was the last Republican governor of the state.
People questioning the referendum claim that the number of signatures required to call for a recall is too small and makes the mechanism too easy.
They also point out that a governor could gain 49.9% of support and be revoked, while a successor could come to power with just 15% of the vote.
The Democratic Party claims that the referendum is spurred on by the Republican Party, in an attempt to change the regional government, as it would not be able to come to power under traditional circumstances.
Republicans deny it is political rivalry and insist that many Californians are tired of Newsom’s handling of the Covid-1 pandemic. The health crisis particularly impacted small business owners and parents who saw their children unable to attend school.
There is, however, one point on which virtually everyone agrees: The cost of Tuesday’s vote, of nearly $280 million, is too high.
Polls indicate that Newsom must maintain his term. The polling portal fivethirtyeight.com claims he has 55% of the votes in his favor.
How will voting work?
There are two issues. The first is: “Should Gavin Newsom be removed from the government?” Voters can only answer “Yes”, or “No”, and the option that wins a simple majority (50% plus one) wins.
In case the “No” wins, everything remains as it is and Newsom will have a few more months in office.
If the “Yes” wins, the second question on the ballot comes into play: “Who should replace him?” The candidate who receives the most votes among the 46 aspirants wins the state government, no matter how small the number of votes.
Newsom is eligible for a candidacy. The Democratic Party did not officially support any aspirants.
Most competitors belong to the Republican Party. At the head of the polls is radio star Larry Elder, a black lawyer who benefited from affirmative action and is now attacking the initiative.
Also in the running are former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer, the candidate who lost the 2018 election to Newsom, John Cox, and television star Caitlyn Jenner.
The list also includes a YouTuber named Kevin Paffrath, famous for riding a Corvette, and a Green Party candidate whose campaign slogan is “Do you like this?”