Santa Clara County registrar ready for recall election
Shannon Bushey, registrar of voters for Santa Clara County, shows a mail-in ballot at an Aug. 25 news conference. Photo by Stephanie Lam.

    Anticipation surrounding a potential replacement for Gov. Gavin Newsom could contribute to high voter turnout for the upcoming Sept. 14 recall election.

    Shannon Bushey, registrar of voters for Santa Clara County, estimates a 50-60% voter turnout for the recall election. Part of the reason, Bushey said, is because residents have been expecting the recall election for months. More than 144,000 residents have already cast their ballots as of Wednesday.

    “In my opinion, voters know which way they want to vote on this issue and are casting their ballot much quicker,” Bushey said at a news conference. “It’s been a great turnout so far.”

    Newsom faces criticism for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as back-and-forth policies regarding vaccination and regional stay at home orders. A March petition to recall Newsom gained more than 2 million signatures, prompting the September recall election—the first recall of a California governor since 2003.

    Forty-eight percent of California residents approve of the recall, while 47.5% oppose it, according a poll from Real Clear Politics.

    Workers and volunteers at the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters count mail-in ballots on Aug. 25. Photo by Stephanie Lam.

    Evelyn Mendez, public and legislative affairs manager for the registrar, said she expects the turnout rate to be similar to that of November 2020, when a record number of residents signed up to vote.

    “The recall election is a little different, but our voters like to participate, “Mendez told San José Spotlight.

    From Sept. 4 to election day on Sept. 14, Santa Clara County voters can cast their ballots at 36 vote centers and more than 100 official drop boxes.

    Last week, Newsom spoke at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 332 Hall in San Jose urging voters to oppose the recall.

    “These guys on the other side are vehemently anti-union… they don’t believe in collective bargaining, they don’t believe in protecting pensions, they don’t believe in the rights of people to come together across their differences to have a single voice and advance their rights,” Newsom told local supporters. “They will be putting a stake in the progress that we’ve made to advance the rights of working people in this state if we’re not successful in voting no on this recall.”

    Leading candidates in the recall include talk radio host Larry Elder, businessman John Cox and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

    In order to ensure votes are secured and accounted for, Bushey said registrar employees will perform testing on voting machines and tally 1% of all votes manually to verify accuracy. Bushey said workers are also encouraging voters to download the SCCVOTE app to track the progress of their mail-in ballots.

    “Voters got used to using the app during the 2020 election and it really gave them a sense of security knowing the ballot was received,” Bushey said.

    Mendez said unlike the recall election in 2003, registrar workers know what to expect. They began reaching out to voting centers and poll workers early in the year to ensure the voting process runs smoothly.

    “This time we were very well prepared,” Mendez said. “We knew it was coming.”

    Contact Stephanie Lam at [email protected] or follow @StephCLam on Twitter.

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