Mail-in ballots | Credit: Daniel Dreifuss (file)

Despite the pandemic, millions of Californians took part in the recall election, said Secretary of State Shirley Weber in an election recap on November 24. Gavin Newsom is still governor, defeating the attempt to recall him over his handling of COVID-19 and getting 222,000 more votes to keep him in office than the number that put him there in 2018.

The “no” vote against the recall approached 8 million, Weber certified on October 22 — 7,944,092 votes to defeat the recall — compared to 4,894,473 “yes” votes. In 2018, Newsom won office with 7,721,410 votes in a landslide win against Republican businessman John Cox: 62 to 38 percent.

Weber also noted voter registration ahead of the September 14 vote swelled the rolls to a record 88.87 percent of eligible voters — 22 million out of the 24.8 million potential voters — though only 12.8 million actually cast a vote in September. More than 91 percent of all votes cast came from vote-by-mail ballots, and turnout statewide came to 58.4 percent.

The final list of would-be governors tallied 53 recall candidates for whom 7,361,568 million votes came in. The top vote-getter, Republican talk-radio host Larry Elder, got 3.5 million votes compared to the 5.4 million voters who elected to choose no one from among the candidates.

In Santa Barbara County’s certified results, the “no” recall vote prevailed 62 to 38 percent, and mail-in balloting was significant. A whopping 94 percent of the vote was cast by mail: 143,635 to 9,173. Among the county’s 238,548 registered voters, 152,808 cast a ballot, for a turnout of 64 percent.

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