Voters showed up across the Sacramento region to drop off ballots or cast their own in the 2021 gubernatorial recall election.
Here is what we're heard from people. You can follow results in the recall election here.
In Sacramento, some voters casting ballots with Texas on their mind
Heading into the recall, election experts wondered whether Democrats were energized enough to vote to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office. Early polls showed Newsom was in a tough spot, but late polls suggested otherwise.
Some voters CapRadio spoke with Tuesday in Sacramento weren’t energized — but chose to vote for Newsom anyway.
Others, like Maria Hernandez, were very energized with concerns of California turning into Texas politically. Hernandez was referring to a new Texas law that bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, which is well before many women even know they are pregnant.
“It's like, we don't want someone who is anti-abortion rights and stuff and anti-woman rights and stuff,” Hernandez said of leading Republican candidate Larry Elder. “So those are the main things. And then, you know, California is a blue state, and I would hate for it to turn red.”
Kelsie Hale said she’s not a big fan of Newsom, but still thought it was a pretty easy decision to keep him in office, with the hope that he improves as governor.
“As somebody that's a part of the LGBT community, I feel like he has actually done really amazing things for our community,” Hale said. “But I do think that he has a lot of work to do when it comes to racial equity and things around that area. Overall, I definitely think at the baseline, his values are similar to mine.”
Meanwhile, both Mary Agua and David Jacobs said Newsom is the “lesser of two evils.”
“Our entire, like, civilization is rooted in extractive economies, and, like, there's going to be issues whoever is in power,” Jacobs said. “You know, it's doing damage control and like — yeah, I voted for damage control.”
Agua echoed those sentiments.
“I know that it's a lot to hand that to one person,” she said. “But I honestly, genuinely don't believe that he's responsible for all the things that are happening right now.”
She added that Newsom needs to step up in regards to housing, environmental issues, food insecurity and various inequities if he wants to stay in office going forward.
Still, she doesn’t think other candidates are qualified to tackle those issues.
– Scott Rodd
Placer County voters trickled into the voter service center at The Grounds in Roseville Tuesday afternoon to drop off their ballots or vote in person.
Chris Traina of Roseville said he voted to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office. He’s frustrated by the fact that the recall is happening at all, and wishes the money being spent to put on the election — a whopping $276 million — could go to a different cause, like schools.
“The biggest thing for me as a taxpayer was just the waste of money for this whole progress,” Traina said. “If we take all the people who are saying we need to recall the current governor instead of waiting one more year and just following the normal process — if you don’t like them, vote them out then.”
Traina said he does think it’s important for California to have a process to recall officials, but thinks that process should be a little stricter after what he’s seen happen getting this recall onto the ballot. There have been efforts to recall Newsom in the past, but this gained steam during the pandemic, and a judge gave proponents of the recall extra time to get the required 1.5 million signatures to put this on the ballot.
Chris Traina, of Roseville, says recall was a waste of taxpayer money. Don’t like the guy vote them out on the next election, he says. pic.twitter.com/ZqRSnWYMZ6— Ed Fletcher (@NewsFletch) September 14, 2021
Doogie and Red Costello, both 81, were at the grounds voting in person because they’re not comfortable with California’s pivot to voting by mail during the pandemic, and believe that the 2020 election result was fraudulent.
Claims that California’s vote-by-mail system isn’t safe and secure, and claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, are false.
Doogie is concerned that people may not be able to easily understand what a yes or no vote may mean on their ballot, which frustrates her.
“We pay more gas tax than anybody, because of things that were put on the ballot,” she said. “The people actually literally voted for it, because of the way that [ballots] are presented to people... They make it sound like one thing when it's really another thing.”
— Ed Fletcher
At St. George Church on Stockton's southside, voters came out to make their voices heard, though not all were enthusiastic about their vote for or against the governor.
in stockton now — here’s st. george’s church, one of two places in the city where you can vote in-person and register same-day. the other is the registrar of voters for san joaquin county (44 n san joaquin st, suite 350) pic.twitter.com/iJjMxnNzqY— janelle 🗡 (@janelle_cpp) September 14, 2021
Carolyn Timberlake, 56, said that while Gov. Gavin Newsom has done things she agrees with and things she doesn’t, she doesn’t know any of the other candidates or feel that they’re qualified to be governor.
"I like what he does, there are just some things I don't agree with and stuff like that, you know," Timberlake said. "So I have the good points on him, I had bad points on him. I weigh them out and stuff like that, you know, but I prefer him to still be in office."
Edelwina Coleto, a school librarian known to her students as Ms. Winnie, said it was her civic duty to come out and vote Tuesday.
"There are times maybe I didn't [vote]. I wasn't too crazy about… the people that were running for office, so I didn't vote," she said. "But now I feel like it's necessary, it's important to hear our voice."
Antonio Aguilar owns TLJ Indoor Soccer in South Stockton. He said he supported Newsom, because while the pandemic affected his business, Aguilar appreciated the support he and his family received from the state.
"I understand that life is more important than business," Aguilar said. "So to me, he was doing a good job."
Aguilar said he felt he the governor supported him and his family both in grants to his business, as well as through a bill that provided $500 payments to undocumented workers who lost work during the pandemic but were ineligible for unemployment benefits.
"It's such difficult times, so making decisions is not easy and everybody is not going to be happy for that," Aguilar said. "But one of the things that I'm really happy with that, too, is he gave us support."
— Janelle Salanga
It’s no surprise that many voters took to the polls with schools on the brain. Students and educators have been on a rollercoaster of changes during the past two years — from abruptly switching to online learning before the end of the 2020 school year to returning in 2021 with vaccines and mask requirements in place.
Education is one of the main reasons Darien Satterfield, a biology teacher and graduate student at UC Davis who lives in Winters, voted “no” in the recall election. She said people need to continue to make sure students and those with elderly parents and family members are safe.
Winters voter 🗳 and UC Davis biology instructor Darien Satterfield says she voted No on the #CARecall. Says she agrees with Newsom’s pandemic policies because they protect people who can’t get vaccinated including children @CapRadioNews pic.twitter.com/qXsUhFSDbA— Chris Nichols (@ChrisTheJourno) September 14, 2021
“I think that maintaining public safety via masks and via vaccinations is really important to care for a population that is not able to be vaccinated at the moment,” Satterfield said.
She said she thinks Gov. Gavin Newsom is doing an OK job, and doesn’t want to let up on California’s progress in the pandemic “until we're seeing the death toll and hospitalization rates decline significantly.”
Meanwhile, Angela Stone, another voter in Winters who works as a cattle rancher and owns a beef jerky business, thinks the Newsom administration has been doing too much — especially when it comes to the pandemic and education.
Winters voter 🗳 and cattle rancher Angela Stone says she voted Yes on #CARecall to reject @GavinNewsom’s pandemic restrictions. Says “I am tired of the tyranny. …We need to be responsible for ourselves & our decisions.” @CapRadioNews pic.twitter.com/Xx38Fmyo2P— Chris Nichols (@ChrisTheJourno) September 14, 2021
She voted to recall Newsom because school shutdowns in the pandemic have taken a toll on kids, even her own son who recently graduated.
“This past year was crazy and the repercussions of the mental condition of the kids who endured that are going to be felt for a very long time,” Stone said.
— Chris Nichols
Only a handful of Sacramento voters trickled into the Urban League polling center in Del Paso Heights by mid-morning today, but the ones who came out shared strong opinions with CapRadio.
Andre Crump said he voted for Gov. Gavin Newsom in the last election, but is now voting for a change.
"The homelessness, the crime, the pandemic … He's running this state. It's all beat up,” he said.
Crump said Newsom doesn’t know what it’s like to step outside your house and “see a homeless camp right across the street that smells like urine.”
“[Newsom] said that California is doing good. If this is good, then what is bad?”
Andre, a business owner in Del Paso Heights says he’s been disappointed in Newsom’s handling of the homelessness crisis in the state. Says he believes it’s gotten worse in his neighborhood during the pandemic, and he hopes a new governor can follow through on his promises better. pic.twitter.com/XD0dyjRgPn— Sarah Mizes-Tan (@sarah_mizes_tan) September 14, 2021
But Del Paso Heights voters had both favorable and negative views on the governor.
Robert Williams said he’s voting to keep Newsom in office. Williams said Newsom did the “best he could” dealing with the pandemic by making sure everyone in the state had access to the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I don’t want a Republican to get in there and change things around and all that. We’re on a good path, a good row, going on right now and I just want everything to continue,” he said.
Robert out in North Sacramento is a truck driver who says he was coming out to vote in person today. Says the past year only solidified his trust in Newsom, particularly in the way that Newsom helped underserved communities access the vaccine. pic.twitter.com/vEDnS8dogm— Sarah Mizes-Tan (@sarah_mizes_tan) September 14, 2021
Another Del Paso Heights voter, Cameron Tucker, said Newsom is part of an unbalanced political system and doesn’t agree with “forcing other people to do stuff.”
“The left right now is way too crazy, they got way too much power, and they’re doing way too much stuff,” said Tucker.
— Sarah Mizes-Tan
Voters turnout early in Oak Park and Woodland
In the Oak Park neighborhood this morning just before 7 a.m., nearly a dozen voters lined up to vote in-person, according to Joyce Faidley, an inspector at the vote center.
“They were at the door, at least five or six of them, they were ready to come in, and they wanted to vote in person,” she said. “Our first folks, at least the first dozen, wanted to vote in person.”
Anthony Bell, who works in education, was one of those first few individuals in line at the Oak Park vote center. He described himself as an “independent” voter and says the day was “like Christmas” because he was eager “to get rid of the worst governor in history.”
“I think we should have been looking out for not just corona, but [student’s] overall mental health, their livelihood. You know, I mean, I don't know. These are big conversations that I think we're oversimplifying a lot,” Bell said.
Despite the lack of evidence of voter fraud in California and across the country, Bell was skeptical of casting his vote. “I'm not real secure in the process of voting. I'm not even sure this process is going to work out. But we'll see,” he said.
Faidley at the vote center says there has been some uncertainty about how the voting process works.
“We did have a couple of people who were a little bit confused about the ballot. And after they voted, they realized that they voted ‘no’ and should have voted ‘yes,’ or ‘yes’ and voted ‘no.’ And so, we asked them before they dropped the ballot in the box, ‘Do you feel comfortable with your vote? Did you understand how you're voting?’ And then we would just spoil that ballot and give them a new ballot if they don't feel comfortable,” she explained.
Spoke with Jesus, a voter going in to drop off his ballot in Oak Park this morning. He actually had lost his ballot and hadn’t been planning to vote this morning, but after speaking with a friend about the importance of the recall, he came out. Says he’s voting for stability. pic.twitter.com/yTkJC1Uv1Q— Sarah Mizes-Tan (@sarah_mizes_tan) September 14, 2021
Marion Bo cast her ballot at the vote center. She’s 19, and wants to keep Newsom for a more stable future.
“While Gavin Newsom is dealing with, like, all this, he's doing the best he can. And I feel like that if he gets switched out, that could complicate things,” she said.
She continued: “I have a heart condition. So it sucks. COVID is taking up the hospitals, but like, he's trying to make it where COVID isn’t as much of an issue by preventing the spread and making it where masks are mandatory, trying to make sure that Americans, are or at least Californians, are safe.”
In the town of Woodland, voters also arrived early to cast their votes.
Justin Smith says he voted “yes” to recall Newsom because of his pandemic policies.
“My mom took her life in February largely because of the anxiety caused by the lockdown measures. So, I understand that COVID is a threat, but I think we're completely ignoring the many consequences of a lot of these mitigation measures,” he said.
Woodland voter 🗳 and Republican Justin Smith, 39, says Newsom’s strict lockdowns and not doing enough to keep schools open motivated his Yes vote on the #CaliforniaRecall @CapRadioNews pic.twitter.com/Vz0OFFPNdn— Chris Nichols (@ChrisTheJourno) September 14, 2021
Smith says he’s backing a Republican for question two on the ballot.
“I'll be voting for Larry Elder,” he said. “He has what I consider to be a unifying message. You know, I'm a Martin Luther King Jr., content-of-character, not color-of-skin type of person. So … for [Elder] to be called ‘the Black face of white supremacy’ and those types of things, it's almost like we're living in this surreal universe.
— Sarah Mizes-Tan, Chris Nichols
This story will be updated throughout election day with voter interviews.
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