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SLO County clerk-recorder's office preparing for gubernatorial recall election on Sept 14

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KCBX News, Randol White
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As the seat for SLO County’s clerk-recorder remains open since Tommy Gong resigned, the county’s clerk-recorder office is busy preparing for the Governor’s recall election.

A recall election seeking to oust Governor Gavin Newsom will take place on September 14.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, there have been 54 efforts to recall California governors since the power was put in the state constitution in 1911. Only one succeeded — when Governor Gray Davis was recalled in 2003 and replaced by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

“It is historic," said SLO County Clerk-Recorder Deputy Director Helen Nolan. "And we are dealing with unprecedented times, coming out of what we have just dealt with in the last year and a half."

Nolan said preparing and planning for an election usually takes six to eight months — but with the recall, her staff is pulling in extra hours.

“Since this recall was officially announced," Nolan said, "we’ve only had 75 days to prepare for this one, a county-wide, full-scale election.”

Ballots will be mailed out on August 16. Voters will be asked two questions — should the elected official be removed from office? And, if the official is removed, who should take their place?

If more than 50 percent of voters say yes to the first question, then the person with the most votes in the second question will replace him. 

“If more than 50 percent of all voters vote no, then he will remain the governor," Nolan said. " You don’t have to vote on both questions. You can vote on a successor, even if you decide to vote no on the recall question.”

While everyone will receive a mail-in ballot, there will also be in-person voting places.

Nolan said how that’ll look with COVID19, will depend on what happens if restrictions and guidelines change in the coming weeks. 

“We aren’t entirely sure what that's going to look like," Nolan said. "We just ask that voters be mindful and respect those safety measures and remember that we aren’t totally free of the pandemic.”

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.