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UC San Diego professor explains recall election voting

California Recall
Posted at 8:57 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 09:33:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Plenty of ballots are being cast for the second-ever recall election in California’s history on Tuesday.

"It's critical that every vote counts and every vote is counted,” Dr. Thad Kousser, a political science professor at UC San Diego, said.

Some voters probably weren't even old enough to vote during the last one.

"It was October 7, in 2003. It was a rainy day in San Diego,” Kousser said.

All of California’s eligible voters have received their mail-in ballot for the recall election.

But, with it being 18 years since the last time voters in the state have had to do this, ABC 10News wanted to shed some light on how their ballot works.

"The key thing to remember about this dual ballot -- where there's one race whether the recall should win or not and there's a second race about replacing the governor -- is you can take part in both of those no matter how you vote in either of them,” Kousser said. "My sense is that the instructions were fairly clear.”

Kousser explained to ABC 10News that the instructions are pretty cut and dry.

The first question on the ballot is the highly publicized "yes" or "no," on whether or not to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. The second question is that voters then have the option of choosing who they would want to have replace Newsom.

No matter if you vote "yes" or "no," on question one, you can still fill out the second question of who you would want to replace Newsom if a recall passes.

"And that, most of people who skipped that second part, who skipped that replacement candidate race, were doing so because they didn't really love any of those options,” Kousser said.

In a nutshell, whether you voted "yes" or "no," you don't get a say on who would replace Newsom if you didn't fill in a bubble for a replacement candidate on the recall ballot.

Kousser said this isn't like a primary or runoff election where voters get another chance.

As people bubbling in their vote for this rare election, Kousser has faith that people understand how to make their voices heard on Tuesday.

"Polls have shown that voters are answering that question. We don't see a lot of don't knows on those questions,” Kousser said.

“So I think there's a lot of faith that Californians will be able to make these choices."

Another big question for voters is how do I make sure my ballot counts.

Kousser said your ballot will be invalid if the signature on the mail-ballot doesn't match up with one on the state's record, you mail your ballot after election or if you double vote. That would mean that a voter fill in both yes and no on the first part of the ballot or if you vote for two names on the replacement section.