KQED's Natalia Navarro interviews Kim Alexander about CVF's new report documenting and addressing harassment of election officials
Californians shouldn’t look at voter suppression as something happening only in faraway states, like Georgia, Texas and Florida. A more subtle, insidious form of the fallout from Donald Trump’s big lie about widespread election fraud in the 2020 presidential race is permeating California.
The lie is gaining enough traction to alarm voting officials, starting with California Secretary of State Shirley Weber. She’s met with nearly every county registrar of voters since taking office in February, and many told her that right-wing agitators are making their job more difficult.
“They’re attacking almost every registrar of voters that I have in the state of California who is trying to do their job,” Weber told the Black Caucus at the California Democratic Party convention recently.
California's top election official has announced that organizers of a campaign to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom have submitted enough valid signatures to place the question before voters later this year.
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NEWSOM: ...Because in these elections, who knows what can happen?
MARZORATI: It's not lost on Newsom that the only other governor to face a recall in California, fellow Democrat Gray Davis, was removed by voters in 2003. But Davis faced very low approval ratings and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the ballot. Newsom's approval rating stands at 53% among likely voters according to the Public Policy Institute of California. This year's recall is likely to set records for its cost.
KIM ALEXANDER: The registrars are anticipating that it could cost as much as $400 million to conduct this special recall election.
It’s well known that elections have consequences. They also have price tags.
With signs pointing to a special election this fall at which voters could remove Gov. Gavin Newsom from office, local officials from across California believe the cost of conducting the election could run as high as $400 million.
The estimate is four to five times higher than rough guesses bandied about in recent months and is equal to a cost of about $18 per registered voter — more than double what local elections officials say was spent on California elections in 2018.
It’s a price they say counties, which are struggling to cover pandemic-related costs for health and human services programs, will need the state to cover.
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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If all politics is truly local, it should be huge news when someone like Kammi Footedecides enough is enough.
As the registrar of voters for Inyo County, Foote spent 14 years on democracy’s front lines in a job that is equal parts educator and administrator. California gives wide latitude to its 58 counties in how to run elections, and a corps of veteran registrars call the shots across the state.
But something has changed. Registrars with decades of experience are calling it quits, stymied by the ever-growing list of election mandates that come without the funding to make them a reality — made worse by the personal and professional threats made by voters amped up on partisan rage and destructive conspiracy theories.
And there’s the rub: California’s next primary election is set for June 7, 2022 and the 2020 Census data — that first step — is really, really late, partly due to the pandemic.
California can expect some preliminary information to trickle in later this month. That will let us know, for example, whether we as a state are due to lose at least one of 53 congressional seats, as is widely expected.
But the more granular data needed to start mapmaking won’t arrive until around August. The data wizards hired by the state will need another month to clean it up and, among other details, figure out where to place the prison inmates.
It has been a touchstone of California politics over the past three decades that the fastest-growing group of the state’s voters was shunning partisan labels in favor of being identified as unaffiliated voters, engaged in politics but not parties.
The 30-year run for that bit of conventional wisdom has, at least for now, come to an end
Friday’s report from Secretary of State Shirley Weber, a biennial look at voter registration in between scheduled statewide elections, tallied 22.1 million registered voters, a historic 88% of all eligible Californians. And as it’s been for much of the past century, Democrats accounted for the largest share — 46.2% of the registered electorate and near double the percentage of Republicans.
California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing a likely recall election this year that threatens to remove him from office. Organizers say they have more than enough petition signatures to place a recall election on the ballot.
Wednesday was the deadline for recall organizers to submit nearly 1.5 million petition signatures to qualify the proposal for the ballot. However, a viral social media post is claiming that Newsom will be sending out forms for Californians to sign, which would take back their recall signature.
Can you sign a form that would take back your recall signature?
After Republicans seeking to recall California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom said they had reached the number of signatures necessary to trigger a special election, one conservative influencer falsely claimed that the organizers have faced hurdles that voters in November’s election did not.
"So California is requiring signature verification for Gavin Newsom’s recall, but didn’t require it for the mail in ballots. How strange," said actor Kevin Sorbo, who starred as "Hercules" in a TV series about the mythological hero, in a tweet sent to hundreds of thousands of followers.
In fact, California did require signature verification for mail-in ballots for the 2020 election, as PolitiFact reported in the months leading up to Election Day. Several election officials, experts, journalists and fact-checkers debunked Sorbo’s Feb. 15 tweet soon after it was posted.