California elections officials scramble to ready recall election within shortened timeframe

Inside California Politics

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — County elections officials across California are working double time to prepare for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recall election set for Sept. 14.

Normally, California elections officials have 190 days to prepare for an election, but for this year’s recall, they’re working with 75.

“We are, as all of us are, scrambling,” said Donna Johnston, the president of the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials. “It’s a little earlier than we had hoped for.”

Before the date was set, the association told state leaders that Sept. 14 would be the earliest possible day they could logistically hold the election, and now with the date confirmed, the clock is ticking.

“We are all working very diligently to secure our locations, now that we have a date, to secure our poll workers, to work with our printers to make sure that our materials are printed on time and that ballots are delivered to voters in time,” Johnston said.

Candidates who are hoping to replace Newsom have less than 10 days to file formal paperwork to run before the printing process can begin.

Johnston said since the recall requires one ballot type, it will help speed up the printing process.

Every California voter will receive a ballot in the mail. Johnston said counties will start sending ballots out on Aug. 16.

“It’s going to be sort of like climbing a really tall mountain, but once we get that election done, the view from the top is going to be really nice,” Johnston said.

Elections officials say they do not yet know if any COVID-19-related protocols will be in place for the special election, such as personal protective equipment being required at the polls. Johnston said the secretary of state’s office is working on guidelines and is expected to release them soon.

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