Recall Signaure Update


What is a recall?
A recall has been part of California's political system since 1911. It provides a mechanism for the public to attempt to remove elected public officials from office before the end of their term of office.


Who are the proponents of this recall effort?
By law, the proponents are those persons who signed the original Notice of Intention filed with the Secretary of State's Office. There are 95 official proponents of the current recall drive against the Governor.


When did the recall drive begin?
The Secretary of State certified the recall petition for circulation on March 25, 2003.
The petition certified by the Secretary of State was required to include the "reasons" for initiating the recall and the Governor's response. Notice of Intent and Answer.


How much time do recall proponents have to gather signatures?
Recall proponents have 160 days, or until September 2, 2003, to circulate the petition. It must be circulated in a minimum of five California counties.


How many signatures are required?
To qualify the recall for the ballot, proponents need a minimum of 897,158 valid signatures. This is equal to 12 percent of the votes cast for the office of Governor in 2002, the last time the office was on the ballot. History shows that some signatures are rejected as invalid during the verification process. Therefore, in order to obtain enough valid signatures to qualify the recall for the ballot, it is anticipated that the proponents will need to submit more than the minimum requirement.


Who may sign the recall petition?
Only the signatures of registered California voters will be counted to qualify the recall for the ballot.


Are the petitions filed with the Secretary of State?
No, each petition must be filed with the elections official of the county where it was circulated.


What are the reporting timelines?

A List of Reporting Timelines
Reporting DeadlineReporting Period
April 24, 2003 March 25 - April 17
May 27, 2003 April 18 - May 19
June 23, 2003 May 20 - June 16
July 23, 2003 June 17 - July 16
August 22, 2003 July 17 - August 15


Who verifies petition signatures?
Local elections officials are responsible for counting and verifying recall petition signatures once the proponents obtain at least 10 percent of the total number of required signatures.


Who sets the date of the recall election?
When the Governor is the target of a recall, the California Constitution requires the Lieutenant Governor to set the date of the recall election. It must be held between 60 and 80 days from the date the Secretary of State certifies that it has qualified, unless there is a statewide election within 180 days.


What determines whether the recall election would be a special election in the fall or a March election next year?
It depends entirely on when signatures are turned in to county election officials and how many signatures are determined to be valid. By law official signature counts are based upon the aforementioned 30-day periodic reports issued by county officials to the Secretary of State. If the Secretary of State certifies no later than September 3, 2003 that the necessary number of registered voters (897,158) have signed recall petitions, then the Lieutenant Governor must call an election within 60-80 days. If the Secretary of State certifies on September 4, 2003 or later that the necessary number of registered voters have signed recall petitions, the Lieutenant Governor has the option of consolidating the recall election with the regularly scheduled March 2, 2004 primary election.


What is the cost of a special recall election?
According to information received from California's counties, the current estimated county cost of conducting the October 7, 2003 statewide special election is between $42 million and $55 million.

In addition, the state will incur costs of approximately $11 million to provide California's 15.3 million registered voters with the state voter information guide.

Therefore, the total estimated cost of the October 7, 2003, statewide special election is $53 million to $66 million.*

(*The estimated cost of the October 7, 2003 statewide special election is based on data supplied by California's 58 counties. Counties revised earlier cost estimates to reflect increased costs due to:

  • No consolidation of the October 7, 2003 statewide special election with the existing local elections scheduled for November 4, 2003.
  • Increased postage, staff overtime and printing costs, and other factors, resulting from a compressed election schedule.)




What will a recall ballot look like?
It will be in two parts. In the first part, voters will vote for or against the recall. In the second part, the voter may select a replacement candidate. If a majority of the voters vote "yes"; on the first question, then the recall is successful, and the replacement candidate who gets the most votes is elected for the unexpired term of office.


Who can run as a replacement candidate?
A replacement candidate must meet existing legal qualifications and requirements to run for the office of Governor. For example, a candidate must be a U.S. citizen, a registered voter and otherwise qualified to vote for that office at the time nomination papers are issued.


Will a replacement candidate's party affiliation and occupation be noted on a recall ballot?
Yes. A replacement candidate's occupation and party affiliation will be included on the ballot.


How does the nomination process for replacement candidates work?
A replacement candidate must follow the general nomination procedures to run for the office of Governor and must file the required paperwork no less than 59 days before a scheduled recall election.
Candidates must obtain 65 nomination signatures (from members of their own party) and must pay a $3,500 filing fee (or submit 10,000 signatures in lieu of the fee). The candidate must also file nomination papers, including a declaration of candidacy.


Do campaign contribution laws apply to recall elections?
The Fair Political Practices Commission is responsible for providing advice about campaign finance issues. They have issued a fact sheet indicating that contribution limits do apply to the replacement candidates. The limits do not apply to the target of the recall or to the committees sponsoring or opposing the recall drive itself.


Are campaign contribution and expenditure reports for the recall committees and candidates available on the Secretary of State's website?
Yes. Recall committees are required to file contribution and spending reports. Also, the replacement candidates and the target of the recall are required to file these disclosure reports.


When would a new Governor take office?
It can take up to 28 days for county elections officials to complete the official canvass. Once the results are official, then the Secretary of State will certify the election and the new Governor would take the oath of office and assume the position.


Has a California Governor ever been recalled?
Since the people added the power of the initiative, referendum and recall to the California Constitution in 1911, there have been 31 previous attempts to recall California Governors. No previous attempt to recall a California Governor has reached the ballot.