If the effort collects 1.5 million verified signatures by March 17, there will be a gubernatorial recall and Gov. Gavin Newsom will be forced to run again midterm. Californians have tediously tried to recall their governor 55 times, but only one was successful, that of Gray Davis in 2003, who was then replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Compared to past California recall efforts where signature verification only hovered between 40 and 60 percent, this latest recall effort has seen election officials verifying more than 80 percent of the submitted signatures. At least 130,108 signatures have been deemed invalid during the review process.
A key factor in favor of recall supporters is the relatively low rate of rejected signatures compared to previous attempts. Only about 16 percent of those that have been checked for accuracy were rejected, at least half as many rejections as were recorded in previous ballot measure campaigns.
An update from the Secretary of State’s office revealed 668,902 valid signatures of the 798,310 have been reviewed. There have been 1,094,457 signatures submitted and recall campaign organizers say they still have many more to submit.
According to the California secretary of state's office, there were three unsuccessful bids to recall Newsom in 2020 alone. Two of those filings were led by Orrin E. Heatlie, a former member of the Yolo County Sheriff's Office and community activist who is once again promoting this effort to recall Newsom.
Officials still must review roughly 300,000 signatures, and at the reported validity rate that would bring the total up to around 900,000, or 60 percent of the total required by next month.
Anne Dunsmore, who manages one of the two recall efforts, ‘Rescue California,’ announced the group has submitted around 1.2 million of the 1.7 million signatures they’ve collected.
"We’re doing great," Dunsmore told Politico. "We’re right on track."
The recall effort has gained national attention amid frustrations with Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with a rocky start to the vaccination campaign and continued school closures. The Republican National Committee donated $250,000 to said effort, earlier this month.
Republicans have jumped on the idea of ousting the Democratic governor, and Fox News learned that businessman John Cox, in anticipation of running against Newsom if the recall effort succeeds.
The next and final official update is due March 18, when county election officials will submit results to the secretary of state’s office, who will verify and announce if the measure has made the ballot, as reported first by Politico.
If that were to happen, the election will most likely occur in the fall. Voters will answer two questions: whether Newsom should stay in office and if not, who should succeed him. The candidate with the highest number of votes will be the next governor, regardless of party.