Sep 15, 2021 - Politics & Policy

California Democrats move to overhaul recall rules

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a news conference in Oakland, California on Wednesday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a news conference in Oakland, California, on Wednesday. Photo: Stephen Lam/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

California Democrats announced plans Wednesday to change the state's recall election rules, a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom defeated a Republican-backed effort to remove him.

Why it matters: The Democratic governor received 63.9% of the vote to stave off the challenge. State Democratic Assemblymember Marc Berman, who's helping lead the drive to overhaul the process, said in a statement that "a small minority of voters" shouldn't be able "to initiate a costly recall that wastes $276 million."

  • The GOP-led campaign reached the current threshold of signatures to hold a recall, after garnering over 1,495,709 verified voters signatures — about 12% of all ballots cast in the last gubernatorial election.

The big picture: Berman said he and Sen. Steve Glazer, chair of the Senate Committee on Elections and Constitutional Amendments, had begun efforts to "reform our undemocratic recall process."

  • This would involve holding bipartisan hearings in the coming months before making changes that would need the amendment of California's constitution.

The other side: California Republican strategist Mike Madrid criticized the move, arguing that "throwing out a powerful tool to protect democracy for purely partisan aims is misguided and dangerous," per Reuters.

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