California Governor Gavin Newsom has been facing a serious effort to get him removed from office. However, new developments indicate that the state of California that he runs is pulling out all the stops to protect him.
The petition “Rescue California” has gathered over 1.5 million signatures, enough to qualify to put his recall up for a vote; but the State of California is poised to go into overdrive to throw out signatures that do not match exactly.
Local NBC affiliate KCRA 3 provides a stunning update on the number of votes that have qualified thus far:
On Tuesday, KCRA 3 called each of the 58 county registrar’s offices. We heard back from 45 of them. Based on KCRA 3’s independent reporting, as of Wednesday, a total of 1,020,165 signatures had been submitted. However, only 560,364 are valid.
It’s important to note: KCRA 3 did not get current totals from some large counties like Los Angeles County. We can anticipate the total number of valid signatures to increase.
The effort needs more than 1.4 million signatures to get the recall petition on the ballot. Signatures can be submitted until March 17.
If the rate of 55% conversion does not increase, it would represent a major boondoggle.
California’s suddenly renewed interest in strict signature-matching when it comes to the Newsom recall petition contrasts with its comparatively low 0.6% ballot rejection rate in the 2020 election:
California election officials announced Friday that 99.4% of more than 15 million mail-in ballots were verified and counted in the November election, a rejection rate notably lower than the March primary even though more than twice as many people voted.
Former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who is being pressed to run against the California governor, gave a sober assessment of the situation:
You’ve never seen signature verification like they are about to do in California. @Steve_Glazer is considered a moderate and he’s saying everyone is focused on reducing the number of signatures. @GavinNewsom has a strategy to ensure there’s no recall vote.
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) February 18, 2021
“You’ve never seen signature verification like they are about to do in California. [Steve Glazer] is considered a moderate and he’s saying everyone is focused on reducing the number of signatures,” Grenell tweeted. “[Newsom] has a strategy to ensure there’s no recall vote.”
Earlier, Grenell reacted to the Newsom recall effort in an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo:
“Look, here’s my position: I just saw your interview with Ron DeSantis and I’m hoping that he can run for governor of Florida and governor of California,” Grenell said. “I’m not sure that that we couldn’t have somebody going back and forth. Certainly would do a better job than Gavin Newsom. We have a disaster here in California. And I’m not trying to be cute about your question, but I think what we have to do is concentrate first on the signature that we’re gathering and the verified signatures.”
Grenell also shared information that Newsom recall signatures were going to be thrown out due to strict signature matching:
“The state of California is controlled by a whole bunch of Democrats. One-party rule, they are going to go through every single signature we have and throw out ones. The verification process is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” Grenell said. “We still have a long way to go to gather signatures to put this on the ballot because they are going to play games. They already are. So I would just say we got to keep focused on getting rid of Gavin Newsom.
Donald Trump, of course, would not be able to win California. Biden received at least 10 million votes to Trump’s 5.5 million, which is a margin of victory of 64% to 33.9%. However, Donald Trump received the most votes of any Republican in California; even more than former California resident, the late Ronald Reagan.
Trump was recently reported by Bloomberg TV as considering jumping into the fray to sway voters in a California recall election.
Robert Barnes, a constitutional attorney, notes that California resident Kanye West was removed from the 2020 election ticket due to signature-matching.
“How did Democrats kick Kanye West off the ballot in his home state?” he tweeted. “By demanding a strict signature match. Guess what rate of signatures were rejected by the election officials? Over half. Yet the signatures magically match for the general election?”
The Rescue California petition drive is thus pushing to drive far beyond the 1.4 million minumum for signatures and has set a target of at least 1.9 million, according to organizer Thomas Del Beccaro.
EVERYONE: We have over 1.5 mill raw signatures but they are not all verified. My message is that 1.5m sounds great but is NOT ENOUGH. To ensure qualification we need 1.9 million. https://t.co/AagEb5mh6v https://t.co/nwN1JOxL5I
— Thomas Del Beccaro (@tomdelbeccaro) February 11, 2021
The lack of strict signature-matching in 2020 elections in swing states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and Michigan, leading to lower ballot rejection rates was a key complaint by former president Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Meanwhile, in California, these reports indicate that the signature-matching is going into overdrive in a bid to protect Newsom. The rationale for recalling Gavin Newsom, according to one of the Rescue California organizers:
California is heading off an economic cliff and Governor Gavin Newsom is driving the car. Voters are angry, and they have a right to be. Newsom has devastated the state’s economy with his dictatorial on-again, off-again shutdown orders. We pay the highest taxes in the nation for a state government that treats business and middle-income families as the enemy, catering exclusively to monied special interests in Sacramento. Voters have a recourse – the power of Recall. We did it in 2003 and we can do it again with your help.
If these early reports on California’s recall election petition are any indication, voters are going to have to kick it into overdrive themselves to beat the rigged system.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.