CA recall updates: Gov. Newsom to remain in office after surviving recall attempt

2021 California Governor Vote Latest

ByLiz Kreutz, Amanda del Castillo, Kate Larsen, and J.R. Stone KGO logo
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Gov. Newsom stays in power as recall fails
California voters have decided to let Gov. Gavin Newsom keep his job, rejecting the recall ballot measure by a substantial margin.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Californians voted to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office on Tuesday, ending a statewide recall election that saw some Republicans again float unfounded claims of voter fraud.

Days before the polls closed, the Larry Elder's campaign promoted a website urging people to sign a petition that declared Newsom had already won because of voter fraud. That language was lifted from a petition circulated to help former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn last year's presidential election results.

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By Tuesday afternoon, that language was removed from the website, leaving only a form for people to report "irregularities, interference, or intimidation while voting." A spokeswoman for Larry Elder said the website is operated by a third party and that "websites update their language all the time."

The claims of fraud - both from Elder and former President Donald Trump - prompted a rebuke from Newsom in an election night victory speech.

"Democracy is not a football. You don't throw it around," Newsom said. "It's more like a, I don't know, an antique vase. You can drop it and smash it into a million different pieces. And that's what we're capable of doing if we don't stand up to meet the moment and push back."

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There were few reported problems with voting on Tuesday. A polling center in Tulare County was closed because of a wildfire, with voters redirected to nearby alternatives. And a poll worker at a West Hollywood voting site was removed for wearing a pro-Trump shirt, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar's Office.

Some Republicans worried the fraud claims from some party leaders could suppress turnout. Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney and the national committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, said she made a video with her husband showing them casting ballots by mail and urging everyone to do the same.

But Dhillon also said she could not say whether California's election would be secure, saying she and a team of attorneys monitoring voting have witnessed dozens of problems.

TOTAL RECALLED: The story of America's largest, wildest governor recall election

With a recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom looming, ABC7 Originals presents, "Total Recalled: The story of America's largest, wildest recall election," a look at the Gray Davis recall and election of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"There will be a lot of questions and potentially litigation after this election about this sloppy-at-best treatment of people's ballots and their right to vote," Dhillon said.

The GOP's predicament was similar to that in last year's presidential election, when many in the party feared that Trump's claims about widespread fraud from expanded mail-in voting would backfire by persuading Republicans to stay home.

In California, the GOP needed all the help it could get.

Democrats make up 46.5% of all registered voters, while Republicans make up just 24%. Independent voters are roughly equivalent to Republicans, but tend to vote Democratic. Republicans have not won a statewide office since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger won reelection as governor.

Bay Area voters come out in full force on Sept. 14

Bay Area voters made their voices heard by coming out in full force for the recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Voters in Alameda County came out in very strong numbers and an overwhelming majority of them voted against the recall. At last check, more than 80% in the county voted against it.

County officials estimate that voter turnout will end up being between 60% and 70%. They say for a non-presidential election that is strong.

Back in November, more than 80% of voters were involved in the presidential election.

RELATED: Bay Area delivers big time for Gov. Newsom in recall

A number of Alameda County voters we spoke with told us that the safety of California is important to them and that is why they voted 'no' on the recall.

"I think it kind of scared me about kids not wearing masks in school. That was really scary especially with my son in school I definitely want to make sure they are protected since they can't get vaccinated," said Adrienne Shelton in reference to some of those running against Newsom.

Santa Clara County saw similar numbers.

"We have 480,000 that have voted already," Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Office Public Information Officer Evelyn Mendez said. "So that's 48% in our county because we have 1,000,000 voters. It's exciting, it really is. This weekend it was really slow, so we thought it was only going to be around 45-50%. But we are at almost 50% now and we're anticipating close to 60%."

RELATED: Millions of Latino voters could be 'key' to Gov. Newsom's recall or victory

Those numbers can be higher, but that is up to you to make your choice, for your voice by casting your vote.

"Make sure you vote, that's all I can say," Santa Clara County Voter Wendee Hartman said. "Come vote. We need ourselves heard. Get out and get it done."

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the California governor recall.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.