UPDATE, 9:12 p.m.: Numerous news organizations, including the Associated Press, have seen enough: The recall has failed:


UPDATE, 8:27 p.m.: As of this writing, the CalMatters widget, below, is acting a little wacky. It’s counting the first question right (recall or no?) but it seems to be choking on the second question (if yes, who should be the next governor)?

The recall is, in fact, failing hard right now. Larry Elder is way out in front on that second question, with 41 percent of the vote as of this writing. That’s 1,343,385 votes for Elder, not what CalMatters is saying currently.

Here’s the current election tally from the California Secretary of State.

Also: Humboldt County! Looks like Humboldt’s vote is roughly the same as the state’s as of this moment — basically, 70 percent against the recall, 30 percent in favor. Elder is also Humboldt’s top replacement choice, by a plurality if not a majority. Link to official county results here.


Below: The CalMatters recall election tracker! Keep the switch flipped to the left for the statewide count as it comes in, or flip it right and pick your county of interest from the dropdown menu. — Ed.

After petition drives, ads, debates and millions of dollars, we’ll know soon whether Gavin Newsom will be the second California governor removed from office by the voters.

Polls statewide close at 8 p.m., and results will begin to be reported.

A reminder: the recall ballot has two questions.

Question 1 asks: “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”

A yes vote is against Newsom and to boot him from office. A no vote is for Newsom and to keep him as governor.

Question 2 says: “Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:”

If more than 50% of voters say yes on the first question, Newsom will be removed from office. Then whoever has the most votes among the 45 active candidates listed on the second question and seven write-in candidates — no matter how few and even if they don’t win a majority — will become governor in late October for the rest of Newsom’s term.

But it could be a while before we know the outcome — and not because of any fraud.

Due to the pandemic, all active registered voters received a ballot in the mail. To make it easier to vote, the state lets Californians mail in a ballot postmarked as late as Election Day — in this case Sept. 14 — and have it counted so long as it arrives within three days.

And the results could change dramatically — and not because of any conspiracy. County election workers have been counting ballots returned early for weeks. As of Monday, 40% of all mailed ballots had come in, and they are trending heavily in favor of Democrats, who account for more than half of ballots returned. Those results will be reported first.

As in the pandemic election of 2020, more Republicans are expected to vote in person and they’re more likely to support the recall. So the results could shift that way as those ballots are counted.

While media organizations will call the race as soon as the result is clear, the secretary of state has as many as 38 days after the election to certify the official results.


CALmatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.


Governor Gavin Newsom speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons license.