Newsom recall: How to vote in California's gubernatorial recall election on Sept. 14

Jessica Skropanic Skye Kinkade
Mount Shasta Herald

On Sept. 14, California voters decide if they want to recall Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom — and if so, who among those running should take his place.

While this isn’t the state’s first gubernatorial recall election in modern history, the COVID pandemic makes this one different than the 2003 gubernatorial recall election that replaced Gray Davis with Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

As it was during the 2020 presidential election, county elections offices mailed ballots to voters by mid-August. Voters have the option to cast their ballot in person or by mail or drop-off.

The ballot has two parts voters can fill out. The first is a yes/no vote if Newsom should be recalled. The second is a vote for one of more than 40 candidates running to replace Newsom should he lose. Note that writing in Newsom’s name is not a vote to keep him; voters must choose yes or no to recall him.

Siskiyou County Clerk Laura Bynum stands next to one of the central count scanners where Siskiyou County’s vote-by-mail ballots are tabulated. The year 2020 was a contentious election year, made more unique because most of the voting was accomplished by mail.

We've provided answers to some of the more common voter questions. Visit the Siskiyou County Clerk's Office online to familiarize yourself with electronic services available to voters.

If you do not have a computer or need to talk elections office staff with specific voting questions, call 530-842-8084 or visit Laura Bynum's office in person at the old courthouse, 311 Fourth Street, Room 201 in Yreka.

What’s the deadline to turn in my ballot?

Ballots must be postmarked on Sept. 14 or dropped off no later than 8 p.m. that day to be counted, according to the Siskiyou County Elections Office. Here is a list of polling places in Siskiyou County.

How do I know my ballot was received/counted?

You can check to see if your ballot made it safely to the elections office.

Make sure to type your name exactly as it appears on your voter registration.

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2021 file photo, mail in ballots run through a sorting machine at the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters office in Sacramento, Calif.  A group of election security experts will ask California officials, Thursday, Sept. 2,   to take additional steps to protect the upcoming governor’s recall election after the unauthorized release of voting system software in other states. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

How do I know if I'm registered to vote?

Visit the Siskiyou County Elections Office to see if you’re registered. You can also call the office or visit the office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. 

When is the deadline to register to vote?

While the deadline to register to vote in the gubernatorial recall election has passed (Aug. 30), the state allows for conditional registration up until Election Day, Sept. 14. 

Do I need to sign up to get an absentee ballot?

Every registered California voter should have received a ballot for the gubernatorial recall election in the mail. These were mailed out on or before Aug. 16.

What COVID restrictions do I need to follow at polling places?

As of Sept. 3 in Siskiyou County, "masks are required for unvaccinated people and recommended for everyone in indoor public places, including state and local government offices," according to Siskiyou County Public Health.

I’m visiting Siskiyou County. Can I still vote?

Californians from other counties can drop off their ballot at any official polling place in California from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day (Sept. 14). 

Visitors who need a replacement ballot may need to contact their county’s elections office. See a list of county elections offices on the California Secretary of State’s website at

I lost or damaged or didn’t get my mail-in ballot. What do I do?

You can request a new or replacement vote-by-mail ballot until 5 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 7). Go to the elections office mail-in ballot web page and follow the instructions.

More:If Newsom is ousted, how much could a Republican governor get done?

What if I changed my address?

You can request a replacement vote-by-mail ballot until 5 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 7), but you also need to change your address with the elections office.

What do I do if my signatures don't match?

The elections office will notify you if the signature on your ballot doesn't match the one on your voter registration. If that happens, you will need to fill out a signature verification statement — see one at — and submit it to the Siskiyou County Elections Office before 5 p.m. on Oct. 5 for your ballot to be counted. 

The California Gubernatorial Recall Election guide for Riverside County voters started arriving in mailboxes this week for the Sept. 14, 2021 recall vote.

How do I turn in my ballot?

In person on Election Day: You can drop off your ballot at any official polling place in California from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sept. 14.

By mail: You can mail in your ballot using the instructions on the envelope. Don’t forget to include your signature and the ballot in the envelope before mailing it.

By dropping it off: You can drop off your ballot directly at the Siskiyou County Elections Office. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Can I still get ballots mailed to me after the COVID pandemic is over?

To request permanent vote-by-mail status, or to cancel your vote-by-mail status, you can write to the County Clerk's Office, 311 Fourth Street, Room 201, Yreka, CA 96097, and ask to receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Your written request must include your name, residence address, and your signature.

Jessica Skropanic is a features reporter for the Record Searchlight/USA Today Network. She covers science, arts, social issues and entertainment stories. Follow her on Twitter @RS_JSkropanic and on Facebook. Join Jessica in the Get Out! Nor Cal recreation Facebook group. To support and sustain this work, please subscribe today. Thank you.