Do you qualify to vote in the Sept. 14 special election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom?

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Tommy Li

The state has started sending special recall election ballot information to registered voters like this one. The name and address have been removed for confidentiality.

Jaimie Chun

Seniors who were born on Sept. 14, 2003, or earlier but missed the Aug. 30 time frame to register to vote for a special election to decide the fate of California Gov. Gavin Newsom will have to wait until the recall voting date to sign up.

According to the recall website, sos.ca.gov, registered voters can opt to cast a ballot by mail or in person. All vote-by-mail ballots were sent out by Aug. 16, and all in-person voters will be able to vote on Sept. 14 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at their respective voting centers.

Voters will decide Newsom’s fate as they answer two questions: Should Newsom be recalled from the office of governor, and if so, which candidate should replace him? If more than half of the voters answer “yes” to the first question, the candidate with the most votes from the second question will replace him.

According to data from school officials, Sunny Hills has 35 seniors who are born on or before Sept. 14 and may be eligible to vote if they are an American citizen and California resident.

If these requirements are met, Californians should have registered at least 15 days before the special recall election. But if that deadline is missed, those who want to still vote will have to go in person at various Orange county voting centers on Sept. 14 and fill out the Same Day Voter Registration form and then cast their ballot, according to sos.ca.gov

“I’m not surprised [about the recall] in the sense that I know a lot of people are frustrated with some of the handling of [COVID-19], and I think that’s what this is all about,” said social science teacher Peter Karavedas, who plans to cast his ballot but has declined to state whether he will recall the governor. “Citizens have the right, if they are frustrated, to voice those frustrations, so I think it’s great that people are doing so.”

Among the seniors who will be voting in this election is Edward Cho, who said he plans to keep Newsom in office. 

“I think he did a good job handling COVID-19. I feel like a lot of people are against his mandates, but I think it was necessary for the prevention of the virus,”  said Cho, who plans to vote in person. “I think so far he did a good job and will keep doing a good job.”

Junior Tazia Mohammad and her Junior State of America [JSA] club members have released a voter’s guide, which students can also access on Instagram, @socaljsaactivism.

“Some of our seniors are old enough to vote, and many other students are old enough to pre-register,” Mohammad said. “While not everyone can participate, any small amount of votes gained is still a significant change in our eyes.”

Even though sophomore Graham Chun cannot cast a ballot for the recall election, he is hoping Newsom will be ousted.

“I believe the recall of Newsom is a good idea because he has been dreadful to this state,” Chun said. “His lockdown policies on [COVID-19] have been very hurtful to businesses and companies, even my own family’s.

“The lockdown prevented my mother’s business from exporting goods, and many of her coworkers were unable to come to work, which meant she had to fire people because they were still getting paid even though they didn’t come to work.”

On the other hand, some students believe that recall advocates have been misleading the public and unfairly judging Newsom’s actions.

“The petition calling for his removal states grievances against his policies providing aid to undocumented immigrants living in our state as well as his suspension of the death penalty, which are humanitarian in concept and in no way deserving of such spite,” Mohammad said. “It also claims that California has the ‘lowest quality of life’ in the country, which is blatantly false.”

Regardless of the outcome, Karavedas – like many across the state and nationwide – will keep an eye on the results, which could be released Sept. 14 or soon after depending on how long it takes for the state registrar’s office to validate the vote totals.

“I hope that whatever the majority of people want to happen in California happens,” he said.