Should California adopt a stricter recall election law? Bay Area congressman weighs in

Liz Kreutz Image
ByLiz Kreutz KGO logo
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Should CA reconsider recall election law? Bay Area rep. thinks so
As California Governor Gavin Newsom faces a growing recall effort, the laws that allow for such an election are coming under scrutiny.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As California Governor Gavin Newsom faces a growing recall effort, the laws that allow for such an election are coming under scrutiny.

Democratic Bay Area Congressman Mark DeSaulnier believes it's time to reconsider the law altogether or, at the least, make the requirements to perform a recall stricter.

RELATED: Why do people want to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom? We explain

"I think the recall is getting to a point... where if you have money it can be used for purposes other than its desired effect, according to the supporters," Rep. DeSasulnier told ABC7 News anchor Liz Kreutz and contributor Phil Matier in an interview Sunday morning. "So, I think the state would be wise to at least revisit it because of the threshold."

Only one California governor -- former Governor Gray Davis -- has ever been recalled in the state. He was removed from office. Still, California does have some of the most lenient recall laws of any state.

Joshua Spivak, author of "The Recall Elections Blog," explained that a government official can be recalled in the state for almost any reason. "I don't like your face recall is how I think of it," he recently told ABC7 News.

The number of required signatures needed to perform a recall is equal to 12% of the last voter turnout. Currently, that number is nearly 1.5 million signatures. Spivak said that it has become an even easier threshold to meet thanks to social media and technology.

"You can get people interested and angry due to social media. You can get people signed up," he said. "And you can raise money much more easily due to all of the changes."

RELATED: Recall Newsom organizers hit significant milestone for getting on the ballot

In the interview with ABC7 News, Congressman DeSaulnier questioned why it's so much easier to perform a recall in California than it is to impeach a president.

"I do think it's an interesting juxtaposition, the recall and how easy that is to use in California, and impeachment, and how hard it is to remove or even admonish a president in the United States," he said.

Still, DeSaulnier said he does not believe Republicans will successfully remove Newsom from office. "They need an Arnold Schwarzenegger type figure and I don't think they can do that," he explained.

RELATED: Former gubernatorial candidate John Cox plans to run for CA governor if Newsom is recalled

He also believes that by the time a recall vote happens people will have a much different perspective on Newsom's handling of the pandemic.

"For the next few weeks and months, it's my belief that vaccines should be produced and delivered and the pandemic to come down," he said. "That's a different environment when people actually go to vote for the recall than it is right now."