Early returns: California voters rejecting recall of Gov. Newsom

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A majority of ballots counted as of Tuesday evening favored keeping the governor in office as county election officials across the state continued tallying ballots Tuesday night in the election to determine whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.  

The California Secretary of State reported that of the 49% of precincts reporting as of 9:45 p.m., 66.7% of voters cast a “no” vote on the first question on the ballot, indicating their desire to not recall Newsom. 

Larry Elder, a conservative talk show host, had claimed 43.4% of the vote on the matter of selecting a replacement governor if a majority of voters decide to recall Newsom. 

In second place, Kevin Paffrath, a Democrat, trailed Elder by more than 30 points. 

State election officials are scheduled to certify the election results on Oct. 22. 

A steady flow of Santa Clarita voters passed through the vote center at the Saugus Union School District office Tuesday afternoon to vote in the recall election. 

First-time voter Samantha Follett dropped off her ballot at that vote center, where her family was casting in-person ballots inside while she waited outside the building. 

“It was a quick in and out,” she said of her experience dropping of her ballot.  

Follett voted against the recall election. 

“I think (Newsom) did a pretty decent job,” she said. “Mistakes are made, of course, but nothing to recall him over.” 

Kristen Hicks said the experience of casting a ballot in person was quick and easy. 

“I have actually done a lot of research, but I also kind of zeroed in on a couple (of candidates) and made my decision this last couple of weeks,” she said. 

Hicks voted for Elder, who she said she liked in part because of his alignment with Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita. 

“They just hit all the points that are important,” she said, citing the economy. “And I think a lot of it has to do with just our freedom too that’s being taken away.” 

Rose Ridel also had an easy time casting her vote at a vote center Tuesday afternoon. The Santa Clarita resident was concerned that the phrasing of the first question may confuse voters who haven’t done their research. 

“You can’t come here and decide on the fly. You have to know what you’re doing,” she said. “And I don’t listen to the media. I tried to do my own research on the pros and cons to (Newsom’s) last few years in office.” 

Ridel said she decided to vote in person because she heard that the voting machines included a paper ballot. Los Angeles County’s ballot marking devices use “technology while retaining a paper ballot as the official, durable and auditable record of the voter’s selections,” according to the county registrar-recorder/county clerk’s website. 

“I thought that felt a little safer to me because after everything that’s happened in the last couple years, I’m a little insecure about our voting,” she said. 

Ridel, an independent voter, said she voted for Elder. 

“We’ve let it go this way for a while, I thought maybe a different party and a different outlook on many different ideas might move things forward in a different way,” she said. “Because we have a lot of a lot of things to repair in the state.” 

Travis Reed, of Castaic, also voted for Elder. Reed said he’s been listening to Elder’s radio program for the past 25 years. 

“He’s a down-the-middle kind of person for sure,” he said of Elder, who he considered more of a libertarian. 

Kayla Salmon cast her vote in an election for the first time Tuesday afternoon. She said the experience was easy and voted against the recall. 

“I think Gavin Newsom does good things and I think that for COVID he’s just the best option,” she said. 

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