CalNonprofits Articles

Vote with your missionThe 9/14 Recall Election is really an election for governor.

And the governor has immense power to implement policies, appoint state leaders, and influence the budget. As a key architect of the state budget, the governor, with the state legislature, also determines how federal pass-through dollars to the state are distributed.
During an emergency like the current pandemic, this power is magnified. Regardless of where we stand on Governor Newsom’s leadership, we all know that his views have influenced the state's response to the pandemic.
These types of decisions have a HUGE IMPACT on nonprofits and our communities. As with other elections, nonprofits can help make sure that our voices and the voices of our communities count in this recall election.
Here’s a short video CalNonprofits put together about the Recall Election and what nonprofits can and can’t do to get out the vote for this election. Below is some additional information.

How Does the Recall Election Work?

The ballot has two questions on it:
1. Do you want to recall the governor (remove him from office)?
2. If the governor is recalled, who do you want to replace him?

You do not need to answer both of these questions for your vote to count.

  • If more than 50% of voters say “no” to the first question, the governor remains in office.
  • If more than 50% of voters say “yes” to the first question, the person who gets the most votes on the second question becomes the governor. A replacement candidate does NOT need more than 50% of the votes to win; they simply need more votes than any of the other candidates.

In short, if the recall passes, a new governor could be voted in by a very small percentage of voters.

What Nonprofits Can Do (and Can't Do)
in the Recall Election

There's basically one thing nonprofits CAN'T do in any election: We can’t take a position on and advocate for specific candidates. Since the recall is about a specific candidate, the current governor, we can't take a position on the recall.  We also can’t take a position on who among the candidates we would prefer to replace him if he is recalled. And we have to watch not to use statements about issues at stake in the election to imply that certain candidates are better than others.

The good news: We can do just about everything else to help get out the vote and to educate people in a nonpartisan way about the Recall Election.
Here are some things you can do if you have 5 minutes:

  • Remind your staff, board members, and volunteers to vote.
  • Ask them to pledge that they will vote.
  • Ask them to consider their vote in light of which choices will support or hurt your organization's mission.
  • Post to your Facebook, Instagram, or other social media account: Just Vote! I work/volunteer for a California nonprofit, and we need your vote!

With 5 more minutes, you can also:

  • Make a short YouTube video telling people that the recall will impact nonprofits (including the one you work or volunteer for) and the communities we serve, and then encourage them to vote.
  • If you have people coming into your building for services or programs, put up signs encouraging them to vote.

If you want to know more about the Recall Election and generally what nonprofits can do to get out the vote, check out these resources:

Again, here is the link to our short video with Recall Election information and tips!

For questions or comments, please contact Lucy Salcido Carter, CalNonprofits’ public policy director, at

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