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SAN DIEGO — Californians will soon decide if Gov. Gavin Newsom should be removed from office and replaced by one of more than three dozen candidates vying to take his seat.

The recall election became official in late June, when California’s secretary of state announced enough verified signatures had been received to meet the threshold to initiate a recall election. Many arguments to unseat Newsom come from his handling of the coronavirus pandemic with many Californians angry over a difficult year marred with pandemic lockdowns, business closures and closed schools.

Other grievances attributed to Newsom include the homelessness crisis, fraud at the state unemployment agency and his attendance of a birthday party at the posh French Laundry restaurant as he urged Californians to follow strict health protocols. Meanwhile, Newsom has insisted the recall effort against him has more to do with politics than the public health crisis.

With sample ballots already in the mail, here’s everything San Diegans need to know ahead of the Sept. 14 recall election.

How to vote

Mail ballots start going out the week of Aug. 16. Every registered voter will receive one in the mail for the gubernatorial recall election, a decision made by the state Legislature in February to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by expanding mail-in voting for all elections before January 2022.

Voters can return ballots by mail or at one of 131 mail ballot drop-off locations around San Diego County. See the entire list provided by the Registrar’s office.

If you are new to San Diego County or moved since you last voted, you need to register to vote with your new address. Complete a new voter registration application by visiting Registration forms are also available by calling 858-565-5800 or emailing

If you are registering less than 15 days before an election, you will need to complete the Same-Day Voter Registration process and request your ballot in person at your county elections office or polling location.

Where to early vote

If you’d rather vote in-person, the following locations will be open for early voting:

All voting locations will be open on Election Day, Sept. 14, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

On the ballot

Voters will see two questions on their recall ballot.

In the first, voters have “yes” or “no” options to the question of whether to remove Newsom from office. In the second, voters have an opportunity to select a replacement candidate.

1) Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?
2) Candidates to success GAVIN NEWSOM as Governor if he is recalled?

If more than 50% of voters elect to recall the governor, then the replacement candidate with the most votes will be elected.