CA Democrats Change Direct Democracy When They Are the Ones Under Threat

AP Photo/Noah Berger

It amazes me that a Legislature that did next to nothing during the pandemic except create laws to conform to Governor Gavin Newsom’s diktats issued under executive powers, is now concerned about democracy. Guess all that “democracy is like a Faberge egg” blather Hair Gel spouted just warmed the cockles of their heart.


CALeg had no problem with the Recall process until it was weaponized against them. They revised the Recall provisions in this Recall Gavin Newsom campaign to get him to an earlier election date. In 2018, when Democrat State Senator Josh Newman was against a Recall, they revised the provisions to expand the time to an election, including adding a 30-day waiting period for signature rescission.

CALeg also planned to change the Recall provisions before that. When was this, you might ask? After the successful recall of Governor Gray Davis in 2003.

It appears that anything that challenges Democrats sense of inevitability simply must be changed.

From NBC News:

California Democrats called for changes to the state’s recall process less than a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom decisively beat back a Republican-led effort to oust him from office.

Assemblymember Marc Berman and state Sen. Steve Glazer, both Democrats, announced on Wednesday plans to hold joint, bipartisan hearings as early as October to examine potential modifications to the recall system. They did not outline any specific proposals that will be addressed during those hearings.


The biggest issues the Democrats have with the Recall language is the signature threshold—they think it should be higher, instead of a mere 12 percent of the vote total by which the official was first elected into office. They also have issue with Question 2: the ability to choose a replacement candidate that does not require a majority vote.

Something else works like that too. I think it’s called the electoral college? A certification of electors instead of who gets the majority of votes. Since Joe Biden was installed into the office of the presidency instead of Donald J. Trump, Democrats are fine with the Electoral College. But when Trump won in 2016? Hue and cry about how the electoral college is outdated, and needed to be revised or removed.

In one of my earlier articles, I presented the numbers from the Secretary of State’s website about how many Recalls have occurred in California in its 100 year history. Generally a sign of abuse of a system is how easily it can be manipulated to produce the desired result; in this case, the removal of the elected official.

The Recall Process

The ability to Recall an elected official was approved by the California voters in 1911, and it is a part of the California Constitution under Article II. This Recall provision also includes justices of the State Supreme Court. California is one of 19 States that allow for a Recall process as part of its system of governance.

The Recall Numbers

Let’s talk about numbers. Since 1913 there have been 179 recall attempts. Only 11 of those efforts collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Of those 11, only 6 succeeded in the elected official being recalled.


We have a population uneducated in civics, and ignorant of what exists in the California constitution. So, they’ll believe whatever comes out of the mouth of their chosen politician, even if it’s inaccurate. If that politician says the system is being used as a cudgel by a certain party <*cough* *Republicans!* *cough*> against elected officials of the other party, then the Recall provisions must be revised.

State Senator Steve Glazer is the genius who decided an earlier recall election would work in Newsom’s favor.

Apparently he was on to something, because it did. So, Glazer is keeping up that momentum to strike while the iron is hot, in order to get the ball rolling on Recall changes.

“Neither of us is suggesting the recall process be eliminated… We have to look at ways to modernize it and understand how it’s been manipulated over the decades.”

Modernize it? Kind of like the way then-Secretary of State Alex Padilla modernized the voting system? Yeah, can’t wait!

In terms of manipulation “over the decades,” that’s squarely in the Democrats’ lap, as stated above.


While this is all exploratory, any new language or revisions must be written in as an amendment to the Constitution. According to California law, California voters then get to decide through a ballot initiative whether to approve the amendment.



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