Dash to September: County Clerks, campaigns getting ready for the recall election

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – California voters will decide whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sept. 14., and county clerks across California are now racing to prepare.

Fresno County Clerk James Kus says, for most elections, his office will start preparing six months in advance. 

The special election will cost California $276 million according to the State Department of Finance. Kus says the election will cost Fresno County $4 million but will be reimbursed by the state. He and his staff are already hard at work preparing.

“It’s going to be tight, but we will get it done,” Kus said. “We have 74 days from today for Sept. 14, and we’ve begun all of our processes already.”

Those processes include setting up voting centers and preparing ballot drop boxes. On Monday, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill 152 into law, which allows state officials to speed up the process of finalizing a date for the election. Kus says given the short time frame, some voting centers may be unavailable, but the revised law will allow fewer voting centers than usual if needed.  

“Senate Bill 152 gives us flexibility on the number of vote centers,” Kus said. He added he hopes to have roughly the same amount of voting centers as in the general election.

For the campaigns, it’s crunch time. Ellen Woitalla manages the Recall Gov. Gavin Newsom campaign from Madera to Kern county. She says the campaign is focused on engaging voters on all sides of the political aisle.

“The governor called this a Republican recall, but the truth of the matter is voters from all political spectrums signed the petition so this isn’t any one party,” Woitalla said.

On Friday, state Democrat leaders held a virtual news conference in a show of unity, and call out the recall effort for being partisan. 

“This is a Republican-led circus and this is a waste of money for taxpayers,” said Long Beach mayor, Robert Garcia. “We’re really focused right now as Democrats in defeating this in September.”

Fresno County Clerk James Kus says ballots will be mailed beginning Aug. 15.

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