SLO County voters head to polls to decide fate of Gov. Newsom in recall election

Sep 14, 2021

Election day is finally here, and voters are making their way to the polls to determine if Governor Gavin Newsom will keep his seat, or be replaced by one of the 46 challengers on the ballot.

While San Luis Obispo County already received 92,000 ballots prior to Election Day, poll locations are seeing a steady stream of voters driving up to drop off their ballots, and to cast their vote inside at a booth Tuesday. 

“I just dropped off my ballot outside the county recorder building," Maggie Pavelski said. "So I guess I’m kind of a last minute person!”

Pavelski is proudly wearing her “I voted” sticker and said getting to vote, especially in an historical election, is something people shouldn’t take for granted.

“Because we get to participate in what we are building," Pavelski said. "I think a lot of people that complain about the system and how it is are not understanding that this is the way to participate and make the changes.”

While some voters said they prefer the experience of voting in person, some, like Stone Davis, just lost track of time. 

“I really just thought of it today," Davis said. "And I really just had to take care of it last minute and come do it in person.”

Early voting has been going on for weeks, and more than eight million ballots statewide have already been turned in. Preliminary results will be released at 8 p.m. when polls close.

Pavelski said she’ll be anxiously waiting for results.

“If it was a foregone conclusion, I’m not sure I would be as excited about it," Pavelski said. " I’m a little nervous, but feeling pretty good about it too.”

For Davis, he thinks it may take several days before we know the outcome, so he’s not holding his breath.

“I definitely feel blessed to vote in fair and free elections," Davis said. "I mean, the results are yet to be decided. We’ll see, right?”

If early results show a landslide, voters may know tonight if Governor Newsom will keep his seat. But if it's a close contest, it could take weeks of counting late arriving mail in ballots before a winner is declared.