Clean Water Action opposes the proposed recall of Governor Gavin Newsom
Free elections should not be overturned based on partisanship. No matter what an individual’s political opinions are, elections represent the will of the majority at a given time, and are the basis of the democratic process. While recalls and impeachments can be appropriate when elected officials break the law or are unable to fulfill their public duties, office holders are subject to reelection on a regular basis, giving the public a legitimate opportunity to unseat politicians who they do not think are serving the needs of the people. With this safeguard already built into the process, election results cannot be subject to the whims of those who simply don’t like who won.
The Newsom Administration hasn’t broken the law and Governor Newsom is able to fulfill his duties. In fact, an attempt by two Republican state legislators to sue the Administration over its use of executive power related to the coronavirus pandemic failed in the courts. Instead, this entire recall effort is based on partisan politics.
History backs up the need to avoid political ploys like spurious recall attempts. Since 1913, there have been 179 recall attempts of California state elected officials, but only ten of these qualified for the ballot. Of those ten, only six elected officials, in over 100 years, have actually been recalled, demonstrating the respect that Californians hold for their democratic process, even when they don’t respect an office holder.
Signers of the current recall petition have until June 8, 2021 to remove their names if they so choose. If there remain enough signatures for the recall to move forward, an election could occur anytime from late summer to November. Candidates are already lining up including John Cox, who lost to Governor Newsom by a wide margin in 2018.
So, what happens if the petition gets enough signatures? The recall ballot would consist of 2 questions: whether Newsom should be recalled and, if he is, which challenger should replace him. The challenger receiving the highest number of votes would finish out the term. There will be no runoff, so if the recall succeeds, Governor Newsom’s successor would almost certainly be elected with a minority of votes cast.
Those spearheading the recall have complained about actions the Governor took related to the Covid-19 pandemic, water rationing, and other social issues. Clearly, these are partisan voices who did not like restrictions that both disease and drought have created. Most of the candidates that are lining up against Newsom have anti-environmental records or little to no political experience.
The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials estimates that the special recall election will cost the state about $400 million. This is an egregious waste of taxpayer money, simply because opportunists who lost the last election wish to overthrow the people’s decision.
For these reasons, we urge voters to say no to the recall and to not support those who take advantage of it to promote themselves and their agenda. There will be a legitimate gubernatorial election in 2022. That is the time to weigh in.