San Luis Obispo County—and all of California—will decide over the next month whether or not to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Gubernatorial recall ballots hit SLO County mailboxes over the week of Aug. 16, and completed ballots are due back by Sept. 14—the official election day. Voters can also vote in-person on Sept. 14 at an assigned polling place.
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- SEPTEMBER ELECTION Most SLO County voters have received their mail-in ballots for the Sept. 14 gubernatorial recall election.
"It's all coming together," said Helen Nolan, the acting SLO County clerk-recorder, who's heading her first election. "We've had a bunch of people come into the office and turn their ballots in already."
Voters are faced with two questions on the ballot: whether or not to recall Newsom, and then, if he's recalled, which candidate should replace him. Voters can vote on either or both questions.
"It's not required to vote on both, but you are absolutely entitled to vote on both questions," Nolan said. "One [vote on one question] doesn't cancel out the other. ... If 50 percent or more of the voters vote yes [on the first question], then the person with the most votes in the second question will become the next governor."
Nolan said one common misconception among voters is that by voting "no" on the recall question, voters can't or shouldn't vote on the second replacement question. She emphasized that picking a replacement candidate does not negate one's "no" vote on the recall question.
"If the majority of voters vote 'yes' [to recall Newsom], you still want your voice heard on who you'd prefer to see take his place," she said.
The gubernatorial recall election—California's second in state history—is being administered similarly to the November 2020 presidential election, but with some local changes brought on by the SLO County Board of Supervisors.
A California pandemic order, which applies to all elections in 2021, requires that counties send every registered voter a mail-in ballot.
Voters can then return those ballots via the mail before or on Sept. 14, or at 17 dropboxes that Nolan's office has set up throughout the county. A full list of those locations are included in the election materials mailed to voters and are also available online.
Voters who want to vote in-person can do so only on Sept. 14 at their assigned polling location, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. A list of polling locations are also included in the mailed materials and are available online.
SLO County has 58 in-person polling locations for this election, which is more than double what it had for the November 2020 election. The larger number of election day polling places, and the limited, one-day access to them, is a result of a Board of Supervisors' decision in March to revert to a traditional in-person-centic voting model.
"We are 27 days away," Nolan said. "Our office is working hard to make this election a success." Δ