In summary

A FAQ on the California election on whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. There’s some confusion and mixed messages on voting, so this can help sort things out.

When is the recall election?

Sept. 14, though local election offices must start sending out mail ballots by Aug. 16.

How do you vote? 

Every registered voter will get a ballot in the mail. You can track your ballot — when it is mailed, when it’s received once you vote and when it’s counted — by signing up here.

There will also be in-person polling sites that open Sept. 4, plus drop-off boxes, with the exact number depending where you live. You can check your registration status here and can update your registration here. The deadline is Aug. 30 to register and receive a mail ballot for the recall; there is conditional registration all the way through Election Day, but you have to request a ballot in person.    

Ballots postmarked by Sept. 14 and that arrive at county elections offices within seven days will be counted.

For any questions, the secretary of state has set up a voter hotline: 800 345 VOTE (8683).


What will be on the ballot?

Two parts. The first requires a yes or no answer. It asks: “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?” 

A yes vote is against Newsom and is to kick him out of office. A no vote is for Newsom and to keep him as governor.   

The second part allows you to pick one replacement candidate from a list. It says: “Candidates to succeed GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled:” 

The list doesn’t include Newsom, so you can’t vote for him.

Who is running to replace Gov. Newsom?

The final certified list of 46 includes Republican politicians, media celebrities, activists and Californians from all walks of life — Democrats, Republicans and those registered with no party preference. There are also seven write-in candidates whose votes will be counted. 

Can you write-in a replacement candidate?

Yes, and no. You can write in any name you want. But for your vote to count, it must be someone from the certified list of seven the secretary of state issue on Sept. 3. Any write-in votes for Newsom also won’t be counted.

What happens after the election?

If more than 50% of voters say no, Newsom continues as governor; his term ends on Jan. 2, 2023.  

If more than 50% of voters say yes, Newsom will be removed from office. Then whoever has the most votes among the replacement 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. 

Do you have to vote on both parts?

No, you can vote on just one or the other — and your vote still counts. For example, you can vote against removing Newsom on the first question, but also skip choosing a potential replacement (which is what Newsom and party leaders are telling Democrats to do).

But if I oppose recalling Newsom, can I still pick a replacement candidate?

Yes, a vote on the second question won’t invalidate or affect your vote on the first.      

Will there be any state measures on the ballot?


Isn’t there an election for governor in 2022?

Yes, voters will pick someone for a full four-year term in November 2022. Newsom is already running.   

For more information, there is a FAQ from the secretary of state that is part of an entire website.

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