Gavin Newsom has his own petition to fight the recall. Experts say it’s misleading

By Sophia Bollag,
The Tribune,
April 19, 2021


With a likely recall looming, Gov. Gavin Newsom is shoring up his base of supporters using national Democratic stars, small-dollar fundraising pleas, and even his own “petition.”

“Join Stacey Abrams, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren: add your name to our NEW petition of Californians who say they OPPOSE the Republican Recall of Governor Gavin Newsom,” the campaign wrote in an email linking to a form where people are asked to provide their names, email addresses and zip codes. 

It’s not a traditional petition, which are typically used to ask for a government action.

Instead, it’s an effort to collect contact information from supporters, said anti-recall spokesman Nathan Click.

Experts say the tactic is common among political campaigns, but it’s one that could confuse voters

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Recall supporters just wrapped up collecting signatures on their own petitions to trigger a special election. And recall opponents are now asking people who signed to go through a kind of reverse-petition process to remove their signatures, a last-ditch effort to prevent a special election.

Voters who are aware of those official petition activities may be confused by the “petition” Newsom’s campaign is promoting, said Kim Alexander, president of the nonpartisan California Voter Foundation.

“That’s a lot of petition messaging out there that may confuse voters,” Alexander said. “Having people sign petitions is a tried and true method for gathering support for a political cause, so on one hand it’s not that unusual, but in the context of an recall effort, which requires hundreds of thousands of people to sign a petition in the first place, it could be confusing to some.”

Mindy Romero, director of the Center for Inclusive Democracy at the University of Southern California, said the petition is likely an effort to both collect information from supporters and to get people to commit to supporting Newsom’s campaign.

“Generally speaking when you use that tactic, it’s really about making people commit,” she said. “Once they go to a point of signing a petition in some form, the idea is they’re more likely to donate money, they’re more likely to back that up with a vote.” (Full Story)