Daily Video

September 15, 2021

Daily News Lesson: Governor Newsom survives recall vote in California

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Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions. Some students may find it easier to read along with the transcript or turn on closed captions/CC. (Note: This NewsHour segment ran on voting day, before Newsom became the clear winner of the vote. This AP article was written the day after the election and provides more context on Newsom’s win.)

Summary: On September 14, Californians went to the polls as part of a recall effort organized by opponents of the state’s current governor, Democrat Gavin Newsom. In California, a recall vote — a vote to remove and replace the current governor — can be triggered with petition signatures that equal to 12% of the state’s number of voters from the last election for governor. Newsom was able to hold onto the governorship, with voters choosing not to recall the governor by an over 30 percent margin.

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • Who is Gavin Newsom and what is his elected role?
  • What is a recall vote?
  • When is a recall vote triggered in California?
  • Why did Newsom’s opponents argue he should be recalled, according to this piece?
  • How does the California recall vote work, according to this piece (that is, how is a winner determined)?

Focus question: Do you think more politicians in powerful positions should be subject to recall votes? What are the pros and cons of making recalls available to voters?

Media literacy: Why do you think the producers chose to lead with voters who helped organize the recall vote — opponents of the current governor?

Additional resources:

  • Read this AP story on how both supporters and opponents of the recall attempted to appeal to voters of color. These strategies may anticipate local and national political campaigns in the coming years.
  • So what is a recall election, and how exactly does it work in California? Watch this explainer from the Los Angeles Times to find out


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