Natalie Adona: Voting your recall ballot — facts for the savvy voter
It’s been a while since Californians were asked to recall a governor. The first gubernatorial recall election was for Gov. Gray Davis in 2003, who was replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. This upcoming gubernatorial recall is the second to make the ballot in the state’s history and asks voters to vote on two key questions.
Question 1 asks, “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of governor?” This is a vote requiring a “Yes” vote if you want the governor to step down or a “No” vote if you think he should stay in office at least through the remainder of his current term.
Question 2 invites you to choose from a list of 46 candidates to succeed Newsom if he is recalled. There is also a write-in space if you choose to write in a name.
Here are the facts for this gubernatorial recall election:
Fact: Your choice on Question 1 does not impact the way we count the rest of your ballot. We’ve heard rumors suggesting that votes for the replacement candidate will invalidate an entire ballot if the voter votes “No” on Question 1. Not true! You can absolutely vote for a replacement candidate regardless of whether you vote “Yes” or “No” on the recall. We will count your selection — just be sure you only vote for one candidate.
Fact: We can count the names of certified write-in candidates. Some candidates meet the qualifications to be certified as write-in candidates. Over the years, I’ve seen many names written into the space — lots of votes for Mickey Mouse, Daffy Duck, and even one for The Mandalorian. We’ll never discourage anyone from using the write-in space or writing in whatever name they wish. In many ways, a ballot is a form of political expression. But we cannot count any candidate that is not a certified write-in.
Fact: Gov. Newsom cannot run as a replacement candidate. Under the law, the officer who is the subject of a recall cannot run to replace themselves (Elections Code 11381(c)). We’ve heard some people claim that writing in Gavin Newsom’s name will invalidate the ballot. Not true! We can’t count a write-in vote for Newsom because he cannot be a qualified write-in candidate. But doing so has no impact on how we count the rest of your ballot.
Fact: The U.S. mail is a safe option for voters to return their ballot. Some people have noticed the small holes in the return envelopes. They have been part of the envelope for several years and provide 1) accessibility for voters with sight limitations, and 2) a quick reference for our workers to ensure that all verified ballots have been removed from their envelopes. We have received several returned ballots and the holes have not revealed how anyone has voted. If you’re worried, you are able to insert the ballot with that blank side facing out, exercise your option to vote in person, or use an official drop box.
Fact: Some ballots include Measure T. Some registered voters living in the Truckee Fire Protection District will also have Measure T on their ballots. Make sure you flip the ballot over to page 2 if you are within the Truckee Fire Protection District and want to vote on that local measure.
Fact: Our staff is passionate about ensuring the integrity of every election. We closely follow all laws and procedures governing the integrity of elections, provide a friendly face to voters who have questions and concerns, and care deeply about the members of our community. If you have any need for our services, you can come in person during business hours, call 530-265-1298, or email email@example.com.
Fact: Election Day is Sept.14. Your vote must be in our office by the close of polls at 8 p.m. If you mail in your ballot, make sure that it is sealed in your signed envelope, postmarked by Election Day, and received no later than seven days after the election.
Natalie Adona is the assistant clerk-recorder/registrar of voters for Nevada County.
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