Newsom Wins California Recall Election: Live Updates – The New York Times

Current time in California: Sept. 14, 9:44 p.m.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:33 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:33 a.m. ET

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Earlier in the day, Gov. Gavin Newsom thanked union members for their support with his wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom and daughter Brooklynn at the IBEW Local 6 Union Hall in San Francisco.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York TimesMinutes before several news outlets projected that Gov. Gavin Newsom had defeated an effort to unseat him, the governor strode into a courtyard on a balmy Sacramento evening and declared victory.

“It appears that we are enjoying an overwhelmingly ‘no’ vote tonight here in the state of California,” Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters late Tuesday night.

Mr. Newsom said he was “humbled and grateful” for his victory but he lamented continued divisions in California and the nation.

“We may have defeated Trump but Trumpism is not dead in this country,” the governor said.

Looking tired as he briefed reporters around 9 p.m. in Sacramento he spoke without notes and took no questions.

“No is not the only thing we said tonight,” Newsom said. “We said yes to science. We said yes to vaccines. We said yes to ending this pandemic. We said yes to people’s right to vote without fear of fake fraud or voter suppression.”

“Thank you for rejecting this recall,” the governor said. He spoke in a courtyard of the Democratic Party’s California headquarters a short walk from the Capitol.

Two blocks away residents played kickball and basketball, oblivious to the governor’s presence. At a downtown theater a 20 minute walk away the remaining members of the Monkees were performing their farewell tour.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:27 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:27 a.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

This election might be over, but Gov. Gavin Newsom faces another one in November 2022. No doubt he’ll use this recall as evidence that voters want him to stay in office.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:28 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:28 a.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

Newsom will want to portray this victory as a clear mandate, but we know from polling and interviews, many voters supported him with ambivalence. They often said were voting against Trumpism more than for Newsom.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:29 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:29 a.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

A conversation that has stuck with me was one I had earlier this month with two college-age voters and a high schooler in the Central Valley who were phone banking for the governor. All three said they were hoping for someone better to run as a Democrat next year.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:16 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:16 a.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

Republicans have made it clear that they will sow doubt in the results of the election, but a large margin of victory will make it more difficult for them to do so without any evidence.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:17 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:17 a.m. ET

Lisa Lerer

Minutes after the race was called, Donald Trump fired off a fundraising appeal. Subject line: “We. Cannot. Trust. Mail. In. Ballots.” That’s unlikely to cheer many Republicans who recognize both the political advantages and growing adaptation of vote-by-mail across the country.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:06 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:06 a.m. ET

Lisa Lerer

I’d caution against extrapolating too many national political lessons from this recall. Is it telling us something about pandemic politics? Sure. Is a recall a highly idiosyncratic process? Also, yes.

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Credit…John Francis Peters for The New York Times

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:04 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:04 a.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

I’m getting emails from big unions taking credit for powering the governor’s victory. Many orchestrated big get-out-the-vote efforts. I suspect they won’t hesitate to remind him of this down the line.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:03 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:03 a.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

Gavin Newsom just became the second governor in U.S. history to beat back a recall attempt. The only other person to ever do so was Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin in 2012.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:01 a.m. ET

Lisa Lerer

Expect to hear comparisons between the last successful California recall — which put Schwarzenegger in office in 2003 — and today. California was still a blue state two decades ago, but Schwarzenegger ran on local issues. Larry Elder, the leading Republican this time, really leaned into the national culture war.

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:03 a.m. ET

Sept. 15, 2021, 12:03 a.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

California is a vastly different place than it was nearly two decades ago — Republicans have steadily lost ground. Though it was relatively easy for recall supporters to get enough signatures to force a recall, Gavin Newsom always had the numeric advantage.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:58 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:58 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

Gov. Gavin Newsom is speaking now. “No is not the only thing that was expressed tonight,” he says. “We said yes to science, yes to vaccines, yes to ending this pandemic.”

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:48 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:48 p.m. ET

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Gov. Gavin Newsom of California during a rally with President Biden on Monday.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York TimesSACRAMENTO — A Republican-led bid to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom of California ended in defeat late Tuesday, as Democrats in the nation’s most populous state closed ranks against a small grass-roots movement that accelerated with the spread of Covid-19.

Voters affirmed their support for Mr. Newsom, whose lead grew insurmountable as the count continued in Los Angeles County and other large Democratic strongholds after the polls had closed. Larry Elder, a conservative talk radio host, led 46 challengers hoping to become the next governor.

The vote spoke to the power liberal voters wield in California: No Republican has held statewide office in more than a decade.

But it also reflected the state’s recent progress against the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 67,000 lives in California. The state has one of the nation’s highest vaccination rates and one of its lowest rates of new virus cases — which the governor tirelessly argued to voters were the results of his vaccine and mask requirements.

Although Mr. Newsom’s critics had started the recall because they opposed his stances on the death penalty and immigration, it was the politicization of the pandemic that propelled it onto the ballot as Californians became impatient with shutdowns of businesses and classrooms. In polls, Californians said no issue was more pressing than the virus.

“As a health care worker, it was important to me to have a governor who follows science,” said Marc Martino, 26, who was dressed in blue scrubs as he dropped off his ballot in Irvine.

The Associated Press called the race for Mr. Newsom, who had won in a landslide in 2018, less than an hour after the polls closed on Tuesday. About 66 percent of the eight million ballots counted by 9:30 p.m. Pacific time said the governor should stay in office.

Considered a bellwether for the 2022 midterm elections, the outcome came as a relief to Democrats nationally. Though polls showed that the recall was consistently opposed by some 60 percent of Californians, surveys over the summer suggested that likely voters were unenthusiastic about Mr. Newsom. As the election deadline approached, however, his base mobilized.

President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota traveled to California to campaign for Mr. Newsom, while Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former President Barack Obama appeared in his commercials. Some $70 million in contributions to his campaign poured in from Democratic donors, tribal and business groups and organized labor.

The governor charged that far-right extremists and supporters of former President Donald J. Trump were attempting a hostile takeover in a state where they could never hope to attain majority support in a regular election. He also contrasted California’s low rates of coronavirus infection with the large numbers of deaths and hospitalizations in Republican-run states like Florida and Texas.

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A “No Recall” rally in Los Angeles last week.Credit…Allison Zaucha for The New York TimesElectoral math did the rest: Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one in California, and pandemic voting rules encouraged high turnout, allowing ballots to be mailed to each of the state’s 22 million registered, active voters with prepaid postage.

Initiated by a retired Republican sheriff’s sergeant in Northern California, Orrin Heatlie, the recall was one of six conservative-led petitions that began circulating within months of Mr. Newsom’s inauguration.

Recall attempts are common in California, where direct democracy has long been part of the political culture. But only one other attempt against a governor has qualified for the ballot — in 2003, when Californians recalled Gov. Gray Davis on the heels of the Sept. 11 attacks, the dot-com bust and rolling electricity blackouts. They elected Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace Mr. Davis as governor, substituting a centrist Republican for a centrist Democrat.

Initially, Mr. Heatlie’s petition had difficulty gaining traction. But it gathered steam as the pandemic swept California and Mr. Newsom struggled to contain it. Californians who at first were supportive of the governor’s health orders wearied of shutdowns in businesses and classrooms, and public dissatisfaction boiled over in November when Mr. Newsom was spotted mask-free at the French Laundry, an exclusive wine country restaurant, after urging the public to avoid gatherings.

A court order extending the deadline for signature gathering because of pandemic shutdowns allowed recall proponents to capitalize on the outrage and unease.

As the outcome in Tuesday’s recall election became apparent, Darry Sragow, a Democratic strategist and publisher of California Target Book, a nonpartisan political almanac, said the governor held off “a Republican mugging” and “could come out of this stronger than ever, depending on his margin.”

Recall backers also claimed a measure of victory.

“We were David against Goliath — we were the Alamo,” said Mike Netter, one of a handful of Tea Party Republican activists whose anger at Mr. Newsom’s opposition to the death penalty, his embrace of undocumented workers and his deep establishment roots helped inspire the attempted ouster.

Just gathering the nearly 1.5 million signatures necessary to trigger the special election was “a historic accomplishment,” Mr. Heatlie said.

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Mike Netter and Orrin Heatlie, proponents of the recall, led a meeting in Folsom in February.Credit…Max Whittaker for The New York TimesThe recall campaign, the two men said, had expanded the small cadre that began the effort into a statewide coalition of 400,000 members who are already helping to push ballot proposals to fund school vouchers, forbid vaccine mandates in schools, and abolish public employee unions, which have been a longstanding Democratic force in California.

Other Republicans, however, called the recall a grave political miscalculation. About one-quarter of the state’s registered voters are Republicans, and their numbers have been dwindling since the 1990s, a trend that recall proponents believed might be reversed if they could somehow flip the nation’s biggest state.

Tuesday’s defeat instead marked “another nail in the coffin,” said Mike Madrid, a California Republican strategist who has been deeply critical of the party under Mr. Trump, charging in particular that the G.O.P. has driven away Latino voters.

Mr. Madrid said the recall signified that, even in California, Mr. Trump’s party had become part of “an increasingly radical, exercised and shrinking Republican base, lashing out in different ways in different parts of the country.” He took note of the voter fraud accusations that some in his party began to make well before the polls closed, echoing Mr. Trump, who claimed without evidence that Democrats had “rigged” the recall election.

Despite the yawning gap in support, for example, Mr. Elder demanded this week, before the voting was finished, that a special legislative session be called “to investigate and ameliorate the twisted results.” He said there had been “instances of undocumented ballots” but provided no examples.

Some Democratic observers were circumspect, warning that the disruption caused by the recall effort hinted at deeper problems.

“This recall was a canary in the coal mine,” said Mr. Sragow, a veteran Democratic strategist who cited the state’s income disparities, housing shortages and climate crises. “And until the issues that created it get dealt with, people in power are in trouble. There’s a lot of anger and fear and frustration out there.”

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Canvassers for an immigrant advocacy group pitched Mr. Newsom to voters in Palmdale in August.Credit…Rozette Rago for The New York TimesTuesday’s vote capped a nearly yearlong push by the governor to persuade voters to see beyond that darkness. Since early this year, when it became clear that the recall would have the money and time to qualify for the ballot, Mr. Newsom has campaigned relentlessly.

Taking advantage of a huge state surplus — a result of higher-than-expected gains in income and stock prices for affluent Californians — the governor moved aggressively to demonstrate that the state could both protect its economy and curb the virus. In recent months, he has rolled out vaccinations, cleaned up trash in neighborhoods neglected by pandemic-worn Californians, thrown motel rooms open to homeless Californians, announced stimulus checks and rent assistance for poor and middle-class Californians and stood repeatedly in front of a gold lamé curtain to host one of the nation’s largest vaccine lotteries.

Past recall efforts informed his political strategy. Unlike Mr. Davis, whose lieutenant governor ran as a Democratic alternative in the 2003 recall, effectively giving partisans permission to oust Mr. Davis, Mr. Newsom and his team quickly cleared the field of potential Democratic alternatives.

Like Scott Walker, the former governor of Wisconsin and the only previous governor to prevail in a recall election, Mr. Newsom painted the recall effort in national, partisan terms and rejected a defensive posture. His strategy galvanized major donors and his base.

As in 2003, when he ran against a popular progressive for mayor of San Francisco, Mr. Newsom framed the race not as a referendum on him but as a choice between himself and a potentially catastrophic alternative — in this case, Mr. Elder, whose name recognition quickly vaulted him to the top of the list of challengers.

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Vice President Kamala Harris joined Mr. Newsom at a rally in San Leandro last week.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York TimesNoting that Mr. Elder had built a career bashing liberal causes, the governor painted him as a Trump clone who would foist far-right policies on a state that has been a bastion of liberal thinking.

“Vote no and go,” the governor told voters, suggesting that they stick to voting against recalling him and not even dignify the second question on the ballot, which asked who should replace Mr. Newsom if the recall succeeds.

Republican support and money failed to come anywhere close to matching Mr. Newsom’s large operation and war chest.

California has no limits on donations to committees for and against recalls, but the state caps contributions to candidates from individual donors. Mr. Newsom capitalized on the rules, raising more than $50 million just in donations of more than $100,000 to oppose the recall. Mr. Elder raised about $15 million, with even less raised by committees promoting the recall.

Many major Republican donors said it seemed futile to try to recall a Democratic governor in such an overwhelmingly liberal state.

Thomas Fuller contributed reporting from Sacramento, and Jill Cowan from Irvine, Calif.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:46 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:46 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

Many of the biggest pro-recall numbers we’re seeing are from smaller, rural counties in far northern California, where residents bridled at pandemic restrictions.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:44 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:44 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

What we’re seeing now are the most Democratic friendly votes, but the results mirror the most recent polls that showed Newsom with a comfortable lead. The recall would need to have a massive surge of in-person voting in multiple counties to catch up.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:45 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:45 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

There are only about a dozen counties that haven’t reported any results yet.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:41 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:41 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

After this round of early mail ballots is reported, expect things to slow to crawl. The Election Day vote could take as long as 24 hours to count. After that, the late mail ballots could take weeks.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:40 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:40 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

Gavin Newsom was expected to speak early tonight, and it will be interesting to watch how fast he comes out in Sacramento. If he’s feeling confident, we could hear from him soon.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:38 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:38 p.m. ET

The New York Times

From Ferndale down to Long Beach, young Californians accompanied parents and grandparents to the polls on Tuesday to witness the state’s first gubernatorial recall election since 2003.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:34 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:34 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

Why haven’t any news organizations made a call? They might want to see at least a little bit of the Election Day vote and turnout before projecting the outcome, given the wide split between Election Day and mail voting in the last election.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:34 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:34 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

This is what we expected to see: a wide lead for Newsom in the early results that’s expected to narrow as the night goes on, since Republicans are more likely to vote in person.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:25 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:25 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

As the way Californians vote shifts increasingly toward mail and early voting, election officials will need to figure out how to ensure that anyone who wants to vote in person on Election Day can do so without encountering long waits. I heard some grumbling in Irvine this afternoon.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:25 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:25 p.m. ET

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Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at Cypress Community Center in Cypress, Calif., on Tuesday.Credit…Allison Zaucha for The New York TimesPolls have officially closed in California, but if you’re still in line: stay there and vote.

Under California law, any voter in line by 8 p.m. has the right to cast a ballot, no matter how far back they are in line. In every election, it seems, there are reports of a polling place shutting down before every voter in line has a chance to vote. But election officials throughout the state repeatedly assure voters that their ballot can and should be counted. (Sometimes get out the vote workers even deliver pizza for those standing in long lines.)

On Tuesday night, in a bit of a reversal, some of the longest lines appear to be in Republican-heavy precincts. In the morning, the lines in Orange County were almost nonexistent. But just an hour before polls closed, there were reports of dozens of lines stretching at least 20 minutes throughout the once-Republican-stronghold that has swung toward Democrats in recent elections.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ET

Nate Cohn

Early result: “no” at 72 percent in Napa County, the heavily Democratic wine country north of the Bay Area. Newsom won 65 percent of the vote in Napa in 2018, so this is a strong showing for him in the early going.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:22 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:22 p.m. ET

Conor Dougherty

Reporting from Oakland

Napa is also, perhaps appropriately, home of The French Laundry.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:20 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:20 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

Wow, the effects of mail-in voting. It hasn’t even been 30 minutes since the polls closed and the estimates are that more than 40 percent of the count is already in.

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Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:19 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:19 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

There are two ways this could go down, and both are arguably historic. Newsom could become the third governor to be recalled from office in U.S. history, or he could be the second to beat back a recall effort (the other is Wisconsin’s Scott Walker).

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:19 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:19 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

The U.S. Senate also potentially hangs in the balance. If a Republican wins, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein steps down, a Republican would likely take her place, handing power in the chamber to the G.O.P.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:17 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:17 p.m. ET

Lisa Lerer

The first batch of votes to be reported are mail-in ballots returned before Election Day. Democrats have historically voted in higher numbers by mail. Newsom strategists expect a big advantage in these early returns — particularly in populous counties like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ET

Lisa Lerer

Given the state’s huge Democratic lean, it would be hard for Republicans to win on the votes of their party alone. So one thing to watch for is how independents break. Do they defect from Newsom, who won in a landslide in 2018?

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:01 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 11:01 p.m. ET

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A voter receives an “I Voted” sticker after casting her ballot in Los Angeles.Credit…Allison Zaucha for The New York TimesPolls have officially closed in California, but whether or not the state’s governor will get to keep his job is likely to remain unclear for at least a couple more hours.

Or, if the race is tighter than expected based on early counts, residents of the nation’s most populous state will have to wait even longer — even weeks — before they know whether Gov. Gavin Newsom has been ousted.

Analysts say they have a pretty good guess of how the process will play out, because millions of Californians have already cast ballots early or by mail.

Thanks to an extension of pandemic election rules, all of the state’s some 22 million active registered voters were automatically sent ballots — a fact that experts say has led to high turnout for a uniquely timed and, for many, confusing special election in a year when voters aren’t already thinking about who they want to be president or governor.

As of Tuesday, 43 percent of those 22 million voters had returned their ballots. Most of the ballots that have already been cast were from registered Democrats, according to Political Data, Inc., a nonpartisan provider of election data.

Election officials in California’s 58 counties are allowed to begin counting votes early, but they can’t reveal any results until after polls have closed. Then, they have 30 days to complete their official canvass and must give vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on Election Day a week to arrive. The certified count is not expected until Oct. 22.

But experts have said that the state’s electoral math is very much in Mr. Newsom’s favor. Democrats outnumber Republicans two to one. And many more Democrats than Republicans have returned their ballots already.

Still, many Republicans said they were waiting to vote in person on Election Day, citing claims about election fraud that have been shown to be unsubstantiated.

If in-person turnout on Tuesday is significant enough, it could tighten the race and drag out the count.

Polls, however, have shown Mr. Newsom’s lead widening in recent days.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:59 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:59 p.m. ET

Conor Dougherty

Reporting from Oakland

Several of Newsom’s advisers have pointed to Senator Dianne Feinstein as a hopeful precedent. In 1983, Feinstein, then mayor of San Francisco, beat back an attempted recall by more than 80 percent and emerged stronger than ever.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:53 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:53 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

Special elections tend to attract fewer people to the polls, but mail-in voting may give the numbers a boost. During the last recall election of a California governor, in 2003, 61 percent of registered voters cast ballots.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:57 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:57 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

Many people have told me that voter interest and media coverage of this election seems much lower than during the 2003 recall of Gov. Gray Davis. That’s probably because Arnold Schwarzenegger was running then, but also because it was the first recall of a governor in the U.S. in more than 80 years.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:48 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:48 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

A crucial group with relatively low turnout: young voters. 28 percent of the ballots mailed for this election went to voters 18 to 34, the largest share of any age group. But those voters have returned the fewest ballots so far.

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Credit…Ryan Young for The New York Times

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:43 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:43 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

Newsom has been warning that he is what stands between California becoming Texas or Florida, and has pointed to Florida’s high Covid-19 numbers and Texas’s stringent abortion ban.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:35 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:35 p.m. ET

Shawn Hubler

Reporting from Sacramento

The recall probably couldn’t have happened without Covid-19. It gave Gov. Gavin Newsom’s opponents an extension to circulate petitions, made Californians anxious and agitated, and got Newsom in trouble with that dinner at The French Laundry.

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Credit…Ariana Drehsler for The New York Times

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:35 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:35 p.m. ET

Shawn Hubler

Reporting from Sacramento

But the pandemic also generated billions of dollars in federal aid, which allowed Newsom to roll out mass vaccinations. And lately, cases have plateaued, allowing the governor to run as the leader of a state with one of the nation’s highest vaccination rates.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:30 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:30 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

We’re 30 minutes away from polls closing. With so many mailed ballots, we could have some quick results — but California is notoriously slow, so a tight race will mean a long night.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:31 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:31 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

The early returns are likely to show a wide lead for Newsom, with the ballots returned so far mostly from registered Democrats. But if the race appears tight early on, it’s possible there are Democrats voting for the recall that polling has missed.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:26 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:26 p.m. ET

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Eleni Kounalakis, California’s lieutenant governor, was responsible for setting the date of the recall election.Credit…Steve Yeater/Associated PressAt first, political experts said that if it happened, the recall election would happen later in the year — probably November? There was a complex, lengthy process that would have to take place first, and the earlier estimates accounted for all of that. But the date came much sooner than expected: Sept. 14.

How? Why? What does it mean for Newsom and his opponents? Here’s what you need to know.

Who set the election date for Sept. 14?

The date was decided by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, a Democrat who is closely allied with the governor. It was the soonest that county officials said they could pull together a special election.

Previous estimates were later because the recall election process required an additional step, a cost review, before a date could be set. But lawmakers passed a bill in June allowing the state to bypass that review and pick an earlier date.

Is the date good or bad for Newsom?

It’s clear that Newsom and his advisers believe the earlier date is good for him. From a lawmaking standpoint, the Sept. 14 timing is advantageous for the governor, according to David McCuan, a political science professor at Sonoma State University.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:23 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:23 p.m. ET

Conor Dougherty

Reporting from Oakland

California’s recall provision was part of a suite of voting reforms passed by progressive Republicans in 1911 to curb the power of the railroads. But now these reforms have become tools of big business.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:19 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:19 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

Baseless accusations of voter fraud from Republican leaders have taken hold among some G.O.P. voters — several I spoke with in Orange County today said they were unsure whether they would believe the result.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:09 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:09 p.m. ET

Soumya Karlamangla

Reporting from Los Angeles

The common wisdom is that elections favor the incumbent, but not with recalls. The recall elections that took place across the U.S. between 2010 and 2020 had a removal rate of about 60 percent. In California, the removal rate was far higher — 78 percent.

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:00 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 10:00 p.m. ET

Conor Dougherty

Reporting from Oakland

A hidden advantage for Gov. Gavin Newsom: He’s from San Francisco. Bay Area voters have very high turnout, perhaps why its politicians — Newsom, Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein — have long dominated state politics.

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Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:49 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:49 p.m. ET

Jeremy W. Peters

Reporting from Orange County

As poll closing gets closer, long lines have formed at election sites in Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach in Orange County, a traditional G.O.P. redoubt that has swung back and forth in recent elections.

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:51 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

Republicans really need to see a massive in-person turnout in order to close the gap with Democrats, which stood at more than 2 million votes earlier today. Not all Democrats necessarily voted against the recall, but those numbers are a big part of what’s leading to early exuberance among Gov. Gavin Newsom’s supporters.

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:36 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:36 p.m. ET

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Californians cast their votes at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, Calif., on Tuesday.Credit…Ryan Young for The New York TimesAs of Election Day, polls show a significant edge for Gov. Gavin Newsom, with 57 percent of Californians against the recall and 41.5 percent in support, according to the FiveThirtyEight average.

There are, of course, no guarantees, and election results will not be released for several hours. But experts say that Mr. Newsom’s advantage appears large enough to withstand major polling errors.

Mr. Newsom’s bump in the polls may come as a surprise, given how close the race appeared weeks ago.

In July, a poll by The Los Angeles Times and the University of California, Berkeley, found a near 50-50 split on the recall among likely voters. When that same group released new data on Friday, 60 percent of likely voters opposed recalling Mr. Newsom, more than 21 percentage points higher than the share that wanted to oust him.

There are several possible explanations for the shift, experts say.

Between the pandemic and wildfires, the election hadn’t been on the average Californian’s radar until ballots appeared in mailboxes in mid-August. As with the presidential election last year, all 22-plus million registered voters in the state received a ballot to vote by mail.

“The minute the absentee ballots went out, suddenly everybody’s ears perked up,” said Raphael Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles.

More people paying attention to the election helped Mr. Newsom because of how heavily Democratic California is — registered Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly two to one. In other words, if enough people vote, Mr. Newsom’s job is safe.

Plus, the polls from earlier in the summer that showed a tighter race may have helped motivate Democrats. Many liberals may have initially assumed that the election was a long shot and that they could skip voting.

In recent weeks, Mr. Newsom, aided by $70 million in campaign contributions, has also been hammering home the idea that he is all that stands between Californians and a future defined by a president most of them didn’t want. “We may have defeated Donald Trump, but we have not defeated Trumpism,” Mr. Newsom said.

His argument may have been bolstered by the emergence of a top rival, the conservative talk radio host Larry Elder, who once called the election of Mr. Trump “divine intervention.”

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:26 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:26 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

There’s been a lot of discussion about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s ill-fated dinner at The French Laundry during the pandemic (our restaurant critic explains why it was such a big deal), but it’s still been kind of amazing that nearly every voter I’ve talked to, both for and against the recall, has mentioned that dinner as informing their opinion of him.

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:15 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 9:15 p.m. ET

FULLERTON, Calif. — The quiet unnerved Steven Vaughn, 55, who showed up at the Fullerton Library to cast his ballot to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom from office. As Mr. Vaughn saw it, Mr. Newsom is an elitist who has been out of touch with voters from the moment he stepped into office. And everyone he knows, Mr. Vaughn said, feels the same way. But when he arrived at the polling place midday, there were hardly any other voters around.

This worried Mr. Vaughn, since he knew supporters of the recall were relying on robust in-person turnout, having stoked fears about voting by mail for weeks. “Maybe it means we’re going to lose,” he said, adding that he could not be certain he would believe the results if Mr. Newsom won.

Supporters of the recall, including former President Donald J. Trump and the leading Republican candidate, Larry Elder, have sown doubts about the election results in recent days. Mr. Elder went as far as announcing on Monday, before a single vote had been counted, that his team had created a website for supporters to report claims of fraud.

It is impossible to know whether conspiracy theories of a “rigged” election have suppressed Republican turnout, but Mr. Vaughn said he was not worried about that. “We’ll make our voices heard,” he said. “We’re the not-silent majority.”

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:59 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:59 p.m. ET

Conor Dougherty

Reporting from Oakland

Can we talk about zoning? Still on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk is a controversial bill that would allow duplexes in single-family neighborhoods across California, in hopes of easing the state’s housing shortage. Newsom’s office won’t comment on whether he intends to sign it, presumably because the normally dry topic of zoning has become a hot-button issue as California’s housing crisis has deepened.

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:58 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:58 p.m. ET

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Poll workers and voters at a voting site in El Centro, Calif., on Tuesday.Credit…John Francis Peters for The New York TimesThere is no evidence of any fraud in the California recall election so far, but that hasn’t stopped a large number of partisan election observers from hunting for nefarious actors.

Across California, partisan poll watchers have been monitoring ballot boxes, early-voting locations and Election Day polling sites. Some have been aggressive toward voters, while others have repeatedly challenged voter signatures, according to election officials. And some have even tried to obtain personal information about election administrators.

“Our office is seeing more aggressive behavior by observers,” said Mike Sanchez, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, the county’s elections office. “Election-related activities are open and transparent, and we welcome members of the public to observe the process. But observers cannot disrupt the election process, or interact/interview our employees.”

Multiple groups that call themselves election integrity outfits have been focusing on the recall election, including one from Larry Elder, the leading Republican candidate. The California Republican Party has also revamped its election integrity operation for the recall. The expansion of such groups comes as false allegations of election fraud in California have become widespread among conservatives both in the state and nationally.

Mr. Elder has suggested, without any evidence, that there might be “shenanigans” in the administration of the election and that there are fraudulent mail ballots. Former President Donald J. Trump has repeatedly made the false claim that the election is rigged. That narrative quickly spilled into the voting process on Tuesday.

“Our inbound calls that we receive in our phone bank have very similar and consistent themes,” said Neal Kelley, the top elections official for Orange County. “It’s almost like people are kind of reading things on the internet and then they’re just kind of repeating that to us. And we’re seeing the same things from the observers as well.”

One group, known as the Election Integrity Project, has been particularly prevalent across the state, with observers continually making challenges or disrupting the process, as reported by The Los Angeles Times. Mr. Sanchez confirmed that the Los Angeles County elections office had received complaints of aggressive behavior by members of the Election Integrity Project.

Formed roughly nine years ago, the Election Integrity Project claims to be a nonpartisan nonprofit group. The organization says it seeks “to fulfill our duty to actively participate in the governing of our state/country by helping to defend the integrity of the voting process that protects our freedoms and way of life,” according to its website.

Despite its claims of nonpartisanship, the project has teamed up with conservative groups such as Judicial Watch and has espoused conspiracy theories about American elections, especially about mail ballots. The group claims to have trained more than 10,000 observers since its formation, though election officials across the state estimate that only a small percentage of those observers have actually shown up at the polls.

The group is well known to Shirley Weber, a Democrat who is California’s secretary of state. She said the group had been challenging signatures at registrar’s offices, which was causing confusion because it did not have the authority or right to make such challenges.

“That’s been an issue that we’ve had to kind of restrict folks to make sure that they understood what their role was as observers, and not as persons who work here in the secretary of state’s office,” Dr. Weber said in an interview.

The Election Integrity Project did not respond to a request for comment. Dr. Weber noted that the group claims to be gathering information for a possible legal action or challenges after the election.

“We know that they’re collecting material,” Dr. Weber said. “Whatever that is, we have yet to see it, because I understand all of that is being collected for a lawsuit, and not necessarily just to be given to us as, ‘Here’s some things we think will help you do a better job.’ So it’s not like they’re the helpful hands that we get. No, they’re not.”

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:56 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:56 p.m. ET

Lisa Lerer

The recall shows how inescapable Donald Trump remains in American politics. Gov. Gavin Newsom actively tried to rally Democrats by warning about Trumpism. And Republicans hewed closely to Trump’s top issue, raising baseless alarms about a rigged election and voter fraud.

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:40 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:40 p.m. ET

By The New York Times

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Californians across the state went to the polls in Tuesday’s recall election. Locations across the state will remain open for voters until 8 p.m. local time.

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:24 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:24 p.m. ET

Shawn Hubler

Reporting from Sacramento

Polls haven’t even closed and 43 percent of California’s huge electorate has already voted. A big reason is — wait for it — the pandemic, which led to all of the state’s 22 million or so active and registered voters being mailed ballots. A bill to make the system permanent is now on the governor’s desk.

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:23 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:23 p.m. ET

PALO ALTO, Calif. — At Palo Alto’s Cubberley Community Center, so many people came to vote in person on Election Day that the volunteers working the center had to add four additional poll workers.

“We’ve been working our butts off,” said Peggy Keep, a poll worker, sinking into a red-and-gray lawn chair to eat her first meal of the day at 3:30 p.m.

One of the over 550 voters who showed up was Chris Mo, a recent graduate of nearby Henry M. Gunn High School. He turned 18 nine days after the presidential election last fall, and cast his first ever vote on Tuesday to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office. “I don’t want the possibility of a Republican governor,” he said.

Many voters at the community center, a short bike ride from the tech campuses of downtown Palo Alto, agreed with him. Just over half of voters in Santa Clara County, which includes Palo Alto, are registered Democrats, compared to 16 percent who are Republicans.

Tanner Kenneth, a recent transplant from the Midwest completing his graduate degree at Stanford, voted for the recall, saying that he was in favor of a divided government. “The Covid stuff was a little severe,” he added.

Palo Alto, along with the rest of the Bay Area, was first in the nation to institute a lockdown last March. Over 80 percent of Santa Clara County residents are now vaccinated.

Across Highway 101, in East Palo Alto, over 100 voters had showed up to cast their ballots in the Lewis and Joan Platt Family YMCA by midafternoon. The city is made up overwhelmingly of people of color, and its vaccination rate, at 82.3 percent, surpasses much of California but lags behind nearby, wealthier areas like Menlo Park, where San Mateo County reports that 100 percent of individuals over the age of 10 are vaccinated.

At the YMCA on Tuesday, many expressed only qualified support for Gov. Gavin Newsom: “With a lot of these politicians, if these were regular jobs, they’d be fired,” said David Moore, 57. Mr. Moore said he wanted to see more action on “better roads, jobs, infrastructure.” Still, he and others at the polling place indicated that they were voting for Mr. Newsom to keep his job.

Icaro Vazquez, 51, a product manager at the software start-up Chronosphere and an East Palo Alto resident, said the governor was “doing mostly OK,” despite his infamous French Laundry faux pas. “On the optics, he screwed up, but on the rest, he was fine,” Mr. Vazquez said.

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:10 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:10 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

For weeks Republicans have baselessly stoked fears of voter fraud, urging their voters to show up in person rather than vote by mail. That means we’re likely to see an early lead for Gov. Gavin Newsom after polls close that will probably dwindle as more in-person ballots are counted.

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:02 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:02 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

Because Democrats far outnumber Republicans in California, and because Democrats were more likely to vote by mail, supporters of the recall are hoping for a robust in-person turnout at the polls today.

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:09 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 8:09 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

The governor’s campaign staff members, however, are hoping to see high in-person turnout among Latino voters, who lean Democratic and have returned relatively few ballots so far.

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:54 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:54 p.m. ET

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Campaign signs for Larry Elder outside of the Huntington Beach Central Library in Orange County on Tuesday.Credit…Allison Zaucha for The New York TimesHUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — There are only a handful of congressional districts in the country where Republicans unseated Democrats last year.

Orange County has two of them. And if the recall vote to oust Gov. Gavin Newsom succeeds here — or comes close — even if it fails statewide, that would be a serious indication that the long-anticipated flip from red to blue here is failing to materialize.

“I don’t know about the rest of the state,” said Fred Whitaker, chairman of the Orange County Republican Party, “but Orange County is going to vote to recall this governor.”

This traditionally Republican redoubt has trended away from the Republican Party in recent years. Before Hillary Clinton won it in 2016, no Democrat had carried the county since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936.

Though President Biden won it last year with 53 percent of the vote, Orange County voters helped defeat two Democratic incumbents who were swept into office just two years earlier, as a backlash to Donald J. Trump led to a repudiation of Republican candidates nationwide. Michelle Steel defeated Harley Rouda in the district that runs up the coast, while Young Kim defeated Gil Cisneros in a district farther inland, north of Anaheim. The two are among only nine Republican members of Congress elected in districts that Mr. Biden won.

Mr. Whitaker, who said he dropped off his ballot over the weekend at his neighborhood drop box, pointed to anecdotal reports of long lines at local polling places, which he interpreted as a good sign considering that many Republicans are partial to voting in person. And the staff answering the phones at the Orange County G.O.P. headquarters reported receiving information from poll watchers about crowds at sites across the county.

Though many Republicans are concerned that their party’s front-runner, the talk show host Larry Elder, is too polarizing to win over enough voters, Mr. Whitaker said he wasn’t so sure that was true in Orange County. He said Mr. Elder’s appeal was that he isn’t the kind of candidate that a more traditional Republican — someone white and middle-aged, like Mr. Whitaker — would naturally gravitate toward.

“He gets good traction with somebody who hasn’t been voting for a while than he does with somebody like me,” Mr. Whitaker said. “I don’t think your run-of-the-mill Republican gets through the messaging noise. But Larry gets through.”

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:51 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:51 p.m. ET

Jill Cowan

Reporting from Orange County

Talking to voters over the past month, I’ve been struck by the fact that very few people expressed strong support for Gov. Gavin Newsom personally. No one mentioned voting for him in 2018, or talked about really loving him as mayor of San Francisco. But they seemed to have gotten his message that they were voting against Trump.

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:39 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:39 p.m. ET

Maggie Astor

The recall may be almost over, but the fund-raising off it isn’t. I just got an email from the campaign of a Democratic member of Congress, claiming that a “breaking poll” shows the race nearly tied and asking people to “donate right now to save Newsom before polls close” in three and a half hours. (No recent poll shows the race nearly tied.)

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:34 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:34 p.m. ET

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Voters turned in their ballots outside the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland, Calif., on Monday.Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York TimesCalifornians have been voting early for weeks in the election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom. But it is unclear how long it will take to get a definitive answer on whether he will keep his job.

Depending on the number of early ballots and the amount of in-person voting on Tuesday, the math could be clear within a few hours of when the polls close at 8 p.m. Pacific time, election experts say. But if the race is tighter than expected, weeks could pass while the counting drags on.

Recall attempts are a fact of political life for governors of California. But they do not usually make it onto the ballot, and Californians have gone to the polls only one other time to determine whether the state’s top officeholder should be ousted. That was in 2003, when Gov. Gray Davis was recalled and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since then, the state’s voting rules and electorate have changed substantially.

Because of the safety concerns arising from the coronavirus pandemic, ballots were mailed early to all of the state’s 22 million or so registered and active voters in the 2020 election. Voters can return their completed ballots by mail, deposit them in secure drop boxes, vote early in person or vote at a polling place on Tuesday.

Nearly 40 percent of registered voters have already cast ballots, but many Republicans have indicated that they plan to vote in person, citing — without evidence — a concern that election officials in the Democrat-dominated state will tamper with their ballots. Studies after the 2020 election found that the system had worked smoothly, with no systemic voter fraud.

Early Democratic ballots have outnumbered Republican ones by two to one, with overwhelming majorities of voters in both parties telling pollsters they plan to vote along party lines. Mr. Newsom is a Democrat, as is about 46 percent of the electorate.

But that margin is expected to tighten as Republican voters — who represent fewer than a quarter of registered voters — head to the polls.

Vote counts are notoriously slow in California because the state is so massive. The law for this election allows county officials to open and process early ballots as they come in, but those results cannot be shared with the public until the polls close, said Jenna Dresner, a spokeswoman for the California secretary of state’s office.

California has 58 counties, and each processes its ballots differently. Results often land later in larger counties, such as Los Angeles County. Officials have 30 days to complete their official canvass and must give vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on Election Day a week to arrive. The certified count is not expected until Oct. 22.

Significant partial counts should be available within a couple of hours after polls close in some key areas, such as the Bay Area and Orange County. And the electoral math in California should offer some strong clues about the outcome, said Paul Mitchell, a vice president of Political Data Inc., a nonpartisan supplier of election data.

Because so many voters are Democrats, he said, the higher the turnout, the better Mr. Newsom’s chances are of beating the recall. If the overall turnout hits 60 percent, he said, the proposed ouster of Mr. Newsom is almost mathematically impossible.

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:34 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:34 p.m. ET

ARCADIA, Calif. — From her desk in this Los Angeles suburb, Fenglan Liu, 53, responded to a steady stream of questions about the California recall coming from voters on the Chinese messaging app WeChat.

A message popped up from a person requesting a ride to a voting center: Ms. Liu called a volunteer to arrange that. Then another.

“It’s very, very busy,” she said. “Chinese community is waking up and getting involved in politics.”

Ms. Liu is the face of an increasingly politically active constituency of Chinese Americans in Southern California.

In interviews, several said that marijuana dispensaries, homeless people and crime are ruining the cluster of cities east of Los Angeles where Chinese immigrants, many of them now American citizens, have thrived for years. And they place the blame squarely on Gavin Newsom.

Ms. Liu, who immigrated to the United States from mainland China 21 years ago, has been instrumental to mobilizing Chinese American voters in the San Gabriel Valley to support the recall. Starting in June last year, she enlisted an army of volunteers in Arcadia, El Monte and Temple City to collect 10,000 signatures.

“We really don’t like the situation in California,” Ms. Liu said. “No place is safe; crime is terrible. Newsom needs to go. This is failed management, not the pandemic.”

Asian Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in California, and their influence in politics has swelled as their numbers have increased.

When the last governor faced a recall, in 2003, Asian Americans comprised seven percent of the electorate. Today they account for 17 percent of all voters in the state.

The majority of Asian Americans in California lean Democratic, according to polls. But Republicans flipped two congressional districts in 2020 electing the first two Korean American congresswomen with support from Asian American voters.

As the recall approached, both Mr. Newsom and his top rival, Larry Elder, courted Asian Americans.

Ms. Liu helped organize successful campaigns in recent years to block plans to build a medical cannabis processing plant and to convert a motel into affordable housing for veterans and formerly homeless people in the San Gabriel Valley.

On Tuesday, Ms. Liu was pleased to encounter a steady influx of Chinese Americans at a voting center in Temple City, and volunteers escorting older Chinese Americans to vote.

“It’s so nice to see people here,” she said. “Before, this many Chinese did not vote.”

Several Chinese Americans who emerged from the voting station echoed Ms. Liu’s concerns about safety as motivating them to want to recall the governor. Others, like Jessie Chiu, 63, derided Mr. Newsom’s “liberal policies,” citing L.G.B.T.Q. issues, marijuana and abortion.

But not every Chinese American wanted to remove the governor, especially young adults like Ryan Lee.

“I voted against the recall,” said the 21-year-old college student, who was born in California to Taiwanese immigrants.

“I’d rather stick with Gavin Newsom than some unknown entity. Maybe he’s not the best. But he’s not a bad governor, either,” he said.

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:24 p.m. ET

Jennifer Medina

Reporting from Los Angeles

The recall largely papered over some of California’s most persistent and pervasive problems, such as inequality, housing and homelessness. Instead, the campaigns became largely about the pandemic and the national political zeitgeist. But the problems, of course, will still be here no matter what happens tonight.

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:14 p.m. ET

Sept. 14, 2021, 7:14 p.m. ET

By Sona Patel

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Larry Elder campaigning in Monterey Park on Monday.Credit…Alex Welsh for The New York TimesBesides this effort to recall Gov. Newsom, only one other attempted recall of a California governor, Gray Davis, has ever reached an election. And California is the only place where a recall of a governor has made the ballot twice. So how does the process work?

A recall petition must be signed by enough registered voters to equal 12 percent of the turnout in the last election for governor. The organizers do not need to give a reason for the recall, but they often do. The petition must include at least 1 percent of the last vote for the office in at least five counties. Proponents have 160 days to gather their signatures.

The signatures must then be examined and verified by the California secretary of state. If the petitions meet the threshold — 1,495,709 valid signatures in this case — voters who signed have 30 business days to change their minds.