February 2021

How Does a Recall of a State Office Holder Work?

Federal officers are not subject to recall in the state.

Any state officer may be recalled.   

(Article II, Sections 13 – 19 Elections Code § 11000 et seq.)


A notice to serve, file and publish a notice of intention to circulate a recall petition is filed.


Notice of intention

Name and title of officer to be recalled.

Statement for reasons for recall – not over 200 words.


Number of signatures.

The petition must be signed by registered voters equal to 12% of the last vote for office from at least 5 counties. In 2021 that number of signatures is 1,495,709.

An election to determine whether to recall an officer and if appropriate, to elect a successor, shall be called by the Governor and held not less than 60 days nor more than 80 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures.

The recall election may be conducted within 180 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures in order that the election may be consolidated with the next regularly scheduled election occurring wholly or partially within the same jurisdiction in which the recall election is held, if the number of voters eligible to vote at that next regularly scheduled election to at least fifty percent (50%) of all the voters eligible to vote at the next recall election.

Officers charged by law with duties concerning elections are required to make all arrangements for such election.  The election must be conducted, returns canvassed, and the result declared, in all respects as are other state elections.

Signatures are gathered by county and those signatures are validated by the county registrars.

The actual ballot will have the question:  Should Gavin Newsom be recalled?  If the vote results in a yes the Governor will be gone.  The second list on the ballot will be the names of people running for the office of Governor. If the Governor has been recalled then the person who gets the most votes of all the candidates will be the new Governor.

The recall election shall be called by the Governor and held not less than 60 days nor more than 80 days from the date of certification of sufficient signatures.  



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