The Mama Bear Recall, Part 2: Getting to the 9/14 Newsom Recall Election and Thwarting the Cheaters

The Faces of the Mama Bear Recall: Christine Abercrombie, Ellen Woitalla, Roxanna Maxam. Credit: Christine Abercrombie, used with permission

In Part 1 of this series, you met the lead team of Mama Bears who were instrumental in getting this recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom on the ballot.

However, many people (including the people who are still sending in petitions) think the work is done.


It. Is. So. Not. Done.

Now Californians have to cast their vote to remove Gavin Newsom from office. While collecting 2.1 million signatures was a monumental feat, many of the Mama Bears feel as though the harder work is getting everyone to keep their eye on the ball through September 14, the designated Special Recall Election day.

Getting people to understand that there is actually an election happening on September 14, that they should have received a ballot in the mail, and that they need to VOTE and return that ballot by mail or in person, in order to complete the recall process.

This is essential, especially since California Democrats, while claiming to want to make voting easier, does everything in their power to make it less so.

The secretary of state, and the California Democrats use technology, the language they use to draft voter guides, and bloated voter rolls to make the process it a convoluted and complicated. Even someone who considers themselves internet savvy and knows how to conquer technological hurdles finds the SOS and the County Registrar-Recorder sites a serpentine mess.

Just for grins, I tried to track my own ballot, even though I plan to vote in person. I had to input my name differently than how it appears on the actual ballot that I had in front of my face, in order to pull up my information. This should not be the case, and only adds to people’s confusion or even dual registrations.

This is by design. Someone who hates tech, and does not navigate internet hurdles well is either just going to ignore it, register a second time, or give up.


So, the Mama Bears know their work is still cut out for them. They continue their vigilance in keeping people motivated, informed, and most importantly, watching the vote.

Orange County Coordinator Wendy Redlew Shrove is out there letting people know: they still have to vote in order to make it count.

“I can’t tell you how many people came by and said, Oh, I already signed it. So, a lot of people don’t know the difference between signing a petition and then actually sending in that ballot, even though it’s mailed to them.

“If they didn’t send it back in this [past] weekend, it’s now in the stack—you know what I mean—that stack, where you can’t find it again. So, I’ve been saying to people, But, now we’ve got it on the ballot. Did you get your ballot?

“So, they may think they already voted on this when they signed the recall petition, and we may need to bring it home and say NOW you make sure you send in that ballot.”

Tulare County and Central San Joaquin Manager Ellen Woitalla is taking the tack that the best defense is a good offense.

“I learned all this from being an activist in CTA (the California Teachers Union), that you use whatever laws are in place to your advantage.”

Like it or not, ballot harvesting is legal in California, so Woitalla is encouraging people to collect everyone’s ballots who is not able to make it to a voting center.

“I’ve told everyone how to,” she said.

“Just go out and harvest all the ballots from people who may not be able to vote on that day. I said, Go get grandmas, go get grandpas, go get everyone’s ballot you can. They [California’s legislature] made it legal; why aren’t we using that?”


Woitalla is also being strategic about when to submit the ballots.

“Well, they put these in the motion, so we need to go out, and make sure they don’t turn them in until September 14th,” she said.

“Don’t give them the luxury of knowing how many of us are voting.”

Many of the Mama Bears cosigned on this. As executive secretary and lead proponent on the Recall Gavin 2020 team, Christine Abercrombie has additional insider knowledge on the strategies in place to combat any cheating attempts:

“No, they won’t win, and we play dirty, okay? We’re not the Republicans. We have eyes on, we have plans in place. We are not just slouching, so…”

And despite Newsom and his sycophantic progressive base’s insistence on trying to make this a far-right wing v. progressive thing, Californians have made it clear that it is not.

Shrove interjected,

He [Newsom] seemed to have lost his way altogether with his own base, because a lot of them are supporting the “YES” vote. Like my daughter,” she said.

Shrove also pointed to other Democrats in her immediate circle who are voting “YES.”

“A friend’s father is a union school teacher, and they voted “YES” on the recall, so they’re not [supporting him], Shrove said. “They don’t agree with the heavy-handed way of governing that Gavin’s been delivering either.

“No, it’s not a Republican recall.”


Part of the Mama Bears’ offense is also keeping watch over who is doing the counting. Shrove has signed up to be a poll watcher with the Election Integrity Project California.

“Last week I attended the Election Integrity Project training to be an observer at the Registrar of Voters,” she said.

“[Former CA Secy of State] Alex Padilla thought it was optional to purge the voter rolls. I mean, that was the official position they took in court. We all know this. Obviously, mailing ballots to everybody on knowingly outdated voter rolls, it’s going to put a question mark over anybody’s head.

“So, what I can do? What I’m going to do is I’m going to get up there and I’m going to watch them.”

Northern California Regional Manager Heather Keller has faith that with planning, backup, a wave turnout, and the right people watching, that the cheaters can be thwarted. She is actively choosing to not allow the stories of stolen ballots and insecure ballots to demotivate her.

“We have to try really hard to not react to every single one of those, because some of them might even be a strategy from the other side to just, you know, make us go, Oh screw it. It doesn’t even matter anyway. I’m not even gonna try ’cause…“, she explained.

Thus far, much of the information and theft appear to be coming from heavily Democrat population centers, like Los Angeles County.

“We’ve worked our butts off for this, but I’m trying really hard to trust that EIP is looking, Ric Grenell’s organization Fix California, hopefully he’s involved, but there’s only so much we can do here,” Keller added.

“To control all of that—and it adds a lot of anxiety, frankly—to try to wrap your head around all of that, and do all of that, plus motivate your volunteers and your students? You have to trust that there are people above my pay grade that are watching this and working on this, and attorneys, and all of that.

“So, I’ve had to let that go a little bit because it just gives me too much anxiety.”


Abercrombie pointed out that many of the strategies they have already employed work toward limiting how much cheating can be done:

“I really feel like they can only cheat so much, okay? We all just saw, you know, when they were talking about the 2020 election, and that they wanted to cheat and turn Florida Blue just to insult Trump, but mathematically they couldn’t do it,” she added.

“Really, I think we’re way ahead. I’m just optimistic like that.”

With over 3 million ballots already returned to the secretary of state, the lion’s share from heavily Democrat counties, it appears Newsom is doing well to rally his base. While the Union stooges he has in place can prepare a certain amount of ballots to try and counter the number of “YES” votes, they currently have no clue how many “YES” ballots are still out there.

Ellen Woitalla likes it that way, and also likes the fact that she doesn’t have to dive at the candidates being thrown at her by either side.

“The point of the data that was shared was that they were alarmed that mostly Democrats have already voted and put their ballot in the mail. But here’s one of the strategies that I think we’re finally waking up to. Even though we have a 30-day period to cast our ballot, we’re all waiting ‘till September 14th,” she said.

“I’m not going to turn mine in until I know where we’re going with this thing. And you know what? Since they want 30 days, then I’m going to use those 30 days to decide who’s going to put us over that line. And I’m going to vote for that person.

“I think we’re wising up and we’re not just playing along with their game, but we’re using their strategy to our favor. I think us voting on September 14 and not letting them know [is working], ’cause only 19 percent of Republicans have voted. Yeah, because the other 81 percent are waiting.”


As Assemblyman and Governor candidate Kevin Kiley encourages at every campaign appearance, the best way to prevent cheating is to actually go out and vote—to make your vote count by actually casting it.

Woitalla agrees:

“I’m not going to vote and put it in the mail. I’m sorry, I’m just not, you know, and I think we need to go back and show that voting in person, then voting on the Election Day is the right way to have an election.”

All the Mama Bears expressed their agreement.

“And I think we need to model that and I think we need to come back to that kind of a voting system when we get a new governor. Just a thought, but you know, that’s a strategy that I think we’re starting to use, Woitalla said.

“We’re finally figuring out that we don’t have to go along with whatever the Dems say.”

This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Read Part 1 here.


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