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You may be aware that California is having a special election on September 14, 2021. If you haven’t been paying attention, you are not alone. Many Californians have not been following this election and turnout is expected to be low. The good news is that there is still time to register to vote and to make your voice heard in this election.

Understanding the Recall Election

The recall is a mechanism that give the public the opportunity to remove an elected official from office before that official’s term is up. In this upcoming recall, voters will decide whether they want to remove Governor Gavin Newsom from office. The recall ballot has two questions (1) whether or not to remove Governor Gavin Newson and (2) who to replace him with. Voters can vote on either or both of these questions. This means that voters can select No to question one (meaning No to removing Governor Gavin Newsom) but still select a replacement candidate.

If the majority votes Yes to removing the Governor, then Governor Newsom will be removed from office and the replacement candidate who receives the highest number of votes will be declared the winner and will serve out the rest of Governor Newsom’s term, which ends on January 2, 2023. If fifty percent or more of the voters select No to removing Governor Newsom, then he will remain in office and serve out the rest of his term. Click here to learn more about the recall election.

Registering to Vote

If you are not already registered to vote don’t despair, you have until August 30, 2021 to register. You can click here to register to vote online. If you are unable to register to vote online, you can obtain a voter registration form at the Contra Costa County Elections Office located at 555 Escobar Street, Martinez, CA 94553. You can also obtain a voter registration form at a public library, a post office, or the DMV. If you are not able to register to vote by August 30th, you can still register and vote in person using Conditional Voter Registration. This option is available at the County Elections Office, all Regional Early Voting Sites, and all polling places on election day. Click here to learn more.

For those who have been victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, you might be able to fill out a confidential voter registration card to become a confidential voter. This will allow you to vote by mail and protect your voter registration information from the public. Call the California Secretary of State at (877) 322-5227 to enroll. Click here to learn more.

If you are unsure about whether or not you are registered to vote, where your polling place is, or your vote by mail status, click here to look up your voting information.

Options for Voting

For those who prefer to vote on election day, you can cast your vote at your local polling place. If you are feeling unsafe due to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in Contra Costa County, don’t despair, there are many ways to vote safely. One option for voters leery of entering crowded polling places on election day is to vote by mail. Every registered voter has been mailed a vote by mail ballot. With this option, you can fill out your ballot in the privacy of your own home. If you choose to vote by mail, be sure to follow the instructions that accompany your ballot and to sign the addressed return envelope. Remember that a ballot that is returned without a signature will not be counted. You can return your ballot by sending it in the mail. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before September 14, 2021, and received within seven days of the election. You can also return your ballot by dropping it off at an Official Ballot Drop Box or at any polling place within Contra Costa County on election day. Look up the location of the County’s Official Ballot Drop Boxes using this link.

Accessible vote by mail ballots are available upon request by emailing You can track your vote by mail ballot using the County’s My Voting Information  here. If your ballot is damaged or lost, you can request a new ballot by calling (925) 335-7800 or emailing

For those who prefer to vote in person but do not want to vote on election day, you can vote early. Contra Costa County has many Regional Early Voting Sites that are open on the Friday, Saturday, and Monday prior to election day. You can look up the location of the Regional Early Voting Sites and election day polling places here.

If you have questions about the upcoming election, you can call the Contra Costa County Elections Office at (925) 335-7800 Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.