A voter submits a ballot at a drop box
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Civic Life

Today is your last day to register to vote by mail in California’s recall election

Sept. 14 is election day in the vote on whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom, and while you can still register and vote in person through then, you have until only midnight tonight to sign up to vote by mail. Here’s how to register and cast your ballot in Santa Cruz County.

The vote on whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is rapidly approaching, and with it the chance to completely change California’s political atmosphere. If you want to vote by mail, the deadline for registration is 11:59 p.m. today, Monday, via the California Secretary of State’s office at this link.

Voters can also register and vote in person on the same day through Sept. 10 at the Santa Cruz County Clerk/Elections Office, the Watsonville City Clerk’s Office and via the county’s VoteMobile, a schedule for which you can find here. From Sept. 11-14, same-day registration and voting are available at locations across the county.

To be eligible to vote, the voter must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older on Election Day, and not in prison for a felony conviction. Voters who have recently moved within the state or changed their name should re-register by Monday at 11:59 p.m.

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The state began mailing out ballots Aug. 16 to all registered voters. Voters can return ballots by the deadline at:

The recall ballot has only two questions:

  1. Should Gov. Gavin Newsom be recalled?
  2. If the recall passes, who should be his replacement?

If more than 50% of voters answer “yes” to the first question, Newsom will be recalled and the replacement candidate with the most votes — even if it’s not a majority — will become California’s governor.

There are currently 46 replacement candidates looking to take Newsom’s job; you can vote for only one of the replacement candidates listed. The leader in recent polls among the replacement candidates is Larry Elder, a conservative radio show host based in Los Angeles, with support of around 21%.

Former Gov. Gray Davis — who was recalled in 2003 under the same principles and replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger — described his experience with CalMatters in an interview last week.

“I have no sympathy for people who are moaning and groaning now,” he said. “They don’t know their history.”

If you believe you are registered but have not received a ballot, check your voter registration via Santa Cruz County’s Elections Department.