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Polls Close in California Recall Election

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Governor Gavin Newsom (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Polls have closed in the California recall election that will determine whether Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom is ousted from office.

To remain in office, Newsom will need to garner a majority vote. Newsom has repeatedly asked his supporters to focus on voting “no” to the recall and to leave blank a second question that asks who of 46 candidates should replace the governor.

If voters remove the governor, a recall competitor needs a plurality of the vote to win. Dozens of Republican candidates including former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Assemblyman Kevin Kiley have stepped forward to challenge Newsom, though conservative radio host Larry Elder has emerged as a favorite among GOP voters. 

There are also nine Democrats, ten independents, two Green Party members and one Libertarian on the ballot.

In California, a recall is triggered when a petition can gather a number of signatures that is equal to 12 percent of the total votes cast the last time the seat was open. For this recall effort, just under 1.5 million signatures were needed. The recall movement amassed more than 1.6 million verified signatures.

Californians have been voting early for weeks; it is unclear how soon results can be expected. Election experts say it will depend on the number of early ballots and the amount of in-person voting on Tuesday.

Results could come within hours of polls closing at 8 p.m. Pacific time. However, if the race is tighter than expected, the count could last weeks.

Nearly 40 percent of registered voters had already cast ballots before Tuesday’s election, with Democratic ballots outnumbering Republican ballots two to one. Yet Republicans are expected to overwhelmingly vote in-person, rather than by mail.

Officials have 30 days to complete their official canvass and must give vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on election day one week to arrive, according to the New York Times. The certified count is not expected to come until October 22 as each of California’s 58 counties work to process ballots.

If polls are to be believed, Newsom

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