Now that Governor Gavin Newsom has beaten the recall by such a wide margin that only a maniac would doubt the results, California Democrats—chief among them, Secretary of State Shirley Weber—are unhappy that the experiment cost the state at least $276 million and want the process reformed ASAP.
“If the state of California is going to spend nearly $300 million to have a special election, it better be worth having—which is to say it should be structured to promote broad participation and the decision to hold an election should reflect the true will of the people,” Weber said in a statement to CNN Thursday. “The recall process as currently designed, which hasn’t been revised in a century, makes those goals difficult—if not impossible—to achieve.”
Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin agreed, tweeting on Election Night, “A $276 million waste just to reaffirm 2018’s results with an election coming in 2022. The CA recall process must be reformed including elevating the Lt. Guv in the event of a recall. But to avoid partisan power grabs the Governor/LG should be a ticket of the same party (like NY).”
A $276 million waste just to reaffirm 2018’s results with an election coming in 2022. The CA recall process must be reformed including elevating the Lt. Guv in the event of a recall. But to avoid partisan power grabs the Governor/LG should be a ticket of the same party (like NY).
— Kevin Mullin (@kevinmullin) September 15, 2021
Democratic Assemblyman Kevin McCarty tweeted that he’d co-author Mullin’s proposal to eliminate offering replacement governors on recall ballots in favor of having the Lieutenant Governor step up, while others are suggesting that getting a recall going in the first place shouldn’t be as easy as it is.
Indeed, this was the sixth attempt to recall first termer Newsom and—much like the sixth iteration of The Matrix—ended up costing a fortune, made no sense, and indicated that a major overhaul could be in order.
To that end, Democratic State Senator Josh Newman, who was recalled in 2018 but won back his seat in 2020, has floated the idea of a bill that would allow officials in the crosshairs of a recall attempt to see the list of petition signers to make sure they actually understood what they signed, as well as a bill that would ban recall organizers from paying people to circulate their petitions.
Weber admits that recall reform is “an uphill climb,” but says she hopes to “level the playing field” in the future. Retired Yolo sheriff’s sergeant Orrin Heatlie, who kick-started this particular recall, says the system is just fine.
“It’s a very difficult process as it is,” he tells CNN. “If they were that easily done, then it would be something that people did all the time. Very few of them get as far as this one did, for good reason. It’s a very difficult process as it stands.”
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