The pressure to recall Governor Gavin Newsom is mounting.
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber informed the state’s Department of Finance on Wednesday that supporters of the recall effort have officially submitted enough valid signatures to initiate a recall election.
Earlier this year, supporters of the recall submitted more than 1.7 million verified signatures, well above the roughly 1.5 million needed to put the question on the ballot. But the state gave voters 30 business days to remove their names before moving forward.
Weber’s office said on Wednesday that only 43 people had withdrawn their signatures, triggering notification to the finance department.
The finance ministry now officially has 30 working days to estimate the cost of the recall election, which is then forwarded to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget, which typically has 30 days to review the estimate. Then Weber certifies the signatures. After that, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis schedules the elections between 60 and 80 days later.
But things could go faster. Earlier this month, the Department of Finance released a preliminary estimate of what it would cost counties to hold an election: $ 215 million. A coalition of counties had called for the early estimate in an attempt to push lawmakers to help cash-strapped counties battered by the pandemic cover some of the expenses of a special election. While the estimate isn’t complete – it doesn’t cover the Secretary of State’s fees, for example – it may mean that the department doesn’t need to take until the August 5 deadline to submit its official estimate.
Likewise, lawmakers have indicated they can look at the cost more quickly, which could ultimately mean a late summer election rather than a fall trip to the polls.
Newsom had faced anger from some residents for his handling of the pandemic, particularly around business and school closures. But polls suggest most Golden State voters are not interested in recalling the incumbent governor, and pandemic restrictions have eased, prompting Newsom’s Democratic allies to suggest a summer election – before which is almost certain to be a brutal fire season – could help the governor stay in office.
Newsom challengers must submit 65 signatures, pay a $ 4,194.94 application fee and provide five years of tax returns to appear on the ballot.
So far, a number of Republicans, including former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer John Cox, who ran against Newsom in 2018, and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, have launched bids for overthrow Newsom. But so far, no major Democratic challenger has emerged and Newsom has a significant fundraising advantage.