If the current Governor doesn't get more than 50% of the vote, does that mean the next highest voted candidate wins?

If the recall does get voted through, how long will the new Governor serve for?

1 Answer 1


From Wikipedia (citations removed and emphasis added)

As of 2021, a recall ballot in California consists of two parts: whether the incumbent should be recalled, and a selection of replacement candidates in the event they are recalled. If a simple majority of those who cast ballots favors removing the incumbent by selecting "YES" on the first question, then the replacement candidate who receives the most votes (a type of plurality voting) finishes out the incumbent's term in office. A voter is allowed a single unranked vote when choosing a preferred replacement candidate, irrespective of their response to the first question.

If the recall is successful, the new governor will take office 38 days after the election and serve the remainder of the term through January 2, 2023.

This has been criticized for possibly electing a new governor with a very small number of votes in their favor (relative to a regular election).

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    Also note: The incumbent is not allowed to run as his own replacement. If a simple majority vote yes, then the incumbent will leave office, even if they otherwise would have won a plurality in a "normal" election.
    – Kevin
    Sep 15, 2021 at 3:32
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    @Kevin And that scenario was very likely to have occurred if Newsom had lost the recall vote -- there were dozens of replacement candidates, and they would have split the replacement vote heavily.
    – Barmar
    Sep 15, 2021 at 14:29

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