Next month’s California recall election on September 14 is a result of direct democracy at work. Since 1911, our state has allowed for recall elections against current officeholders. Every Governor of California has faced a recall since 1960, but a recall effort rarely makes it to the ballot. This year’s recall election will mark only the second time in our state’s history in which the decision will come down to the polls. The last recall election occurred in 2003 when Governor Gray Davis faced his recall election and lost to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Last year’s presidential election had the largest voter turnout in our nation’s history, with over 155 million people exercising their right to vote. California saw its largest voter turnout since the 1950s. The one thing that we have learned from the past two presidential elections, every vote counts. To not vote or feel as though your vote has no impact is not only inaccurate, it can have grave consequences. With the California recall election underway, so too is another moment in history where every vote counts.
We must understand how California’s recall elections work. Unlike a general election or even a regular gubernatorial election, a recall election asks you, the voter, two questions.
The first question is, shall the Governor be recalled/removed from the office of Governor? If you vote “No,” your ballot is complete. If most voters check “No” to the first question, the Governor will remain in office.
If you vote “Yes,” to this question, you may then select one person from a slate of candidates to succeed the Governor. If most voters check “Yes” to the first question, the candidate with the most votes will become Governor.
However you choose to vote, your voice is critical. Not voting is not only an abdication of your democratic duty; it is putting your fate in the hands of people that you do not know. And you are giving your power away to others.
This past month we marked the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. The upcoming recall election is an opportunity to exercise the rights that our forebearers fought and died to bring to fruition. The position of Governor of California is one of the most powerful positions in the country. We see the results of elected officials in power who do not support our Movement.
Our democracy is like a garden. If we leave it unattended, the weeds, the pests, and the vermin will seize the opportunity and take their spoils.
In-person voting will begin September 4, with the last day to vote in this particular election being September 14. In-person voters can register and vote on any election day if they choose not to vote by mail. If you wish to vote by mail, all mail-in ballots must be postmarked on or before election day and received by September 21.
More information can be found at www.registertovote.ca.gov.
Remember, your vote is your right, your word, and your promise towards creating a better future for generations to come.