Students Participate in Mock Gubernatorial Recall Election

By Kea Yoshinaka, Staff Writer

// California residents either breathed sighs of relief or groaned after the results of the gubernatorial recall came out on Sept. 14. The Republican-led attempt failed by a large margin, both in the real election and the Acalanes High School simulation election

   Students who participated voted on whether or not to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom and who to elect as his replacement if he were to be removed.

   Similar to previous election simulations, Acalanes Librarian Barbara Burkhalter organized the mock election. 

   “More students were registered than last year’s presidential election, which is unusual. That’s our one dip. It’s been an upwards trend in the four years we’ve done an election simulation, except the third year was a dip, probably because it was remote learning,” Burkhalter said.

Courtesy Barbara Burkhalter

  The number of students who registered and actually voted also increased. 

   “The percentage of students registered who voted was 59 percent, and that’s our highest on record,” Burkhalter said. 

   73.4 percent of students voted not to recall Newsom, compared to 22.3 percent who voted yes and 4.3 percent who left the question blank.

   “It almost became a matter of life and death. While I do not agree with everything Gavin Newsom has done, at the end of the day, it’s better to have policy that makes sense during a pandemic then to have people who deny the existence of it in the first place. Also, he is at least consistent and qualified for the job,” senior Eli Pokell-Wilson said.  

   However, students who wanted to recall Newsom cited his response to the pandemic as one of the main reasons for removing him from office. 

   “I feel upset about the results of the recall election since Newsom was not recalled. I don’t think Newsom deserves to be governor because of the lockdowns he imposed last year and how he met with a lobbyist despite his lockdowns,” sophomore Kenny Zhou said. 

   Although the majority of students voted not to recall Newsom, if he were to be recalled, the popular candidate to replace him was Caitlyn Jenner.

  “I’m a little taken back by it. I’m a little shocked by it, but at the same time, I’m not… With the rise of celebrity politicians, Donald Trump, Kanye West, Caitlyn Jenner now, it’s becoming more and more common where people are just voting for a figure that they might respect or think is funny,” Pokell-Wilson said. 

   Even though participation was high, some members of the student body worry that voters did not properly research all the candidates or take the election seriously. 

   “I would definitely hope that people would take time in a real election to do their research and learn what they’re doing as a citizen. It is your duty to make the most informed opinion you can for yourself, so that means educating yourself on who the candidates are, what they believe in, things like that,” Pokell-Wilson said. 

   Although 233 students voted in the election simulation, many students did not know the simulation was taking place. 

   “I voted in the mock presidential election but didn’t in the mock recall. I didn’t know about it if there was one,” President of the Democrat Club and senior Cole Regan said.

  Many students didn’t know about the simulation because of the lack of promotion at school.

   “I didn’t hear about it from any of my teachers. I think I saw one little note on the library door, but I didn’t really think about it too much. But overall, no one was really talking about it,” junior Amelia Morgan said. 

   Although the voter turnout for the simulation was higher than it was last year, Burkhalter hopes that more students participate in the future. 

   “Now I think it’s a matter of how to find a way to get more people registered and hope that trend of now I registered, now I go get a ballot and vote continues because the whole point of this course is civic engagement,” Burkhalter said.

Check out the mock election results below!

 Should Governor Gavin Newsom be Recalled:

  • “No” Vote – 171 (73.4%)
  • “Yes” Vote – 52 (22.3%)
  • No Answer – 10 (4.3%)
  • Total Votes Cast – 233

Recall Candidates With the Most Votes Cast for Them:

  • Caitlyn Jenner (26)
  • Larry A. Elder (20)
  • John Cox (12)
  • Kevin L. Faulconer (11)
  • Kevin Paffrath (11)
  • John R. Drake (6)
  • Brandon M. Ross (4)
  • Did Not Cast a Vote on this Question: 95
  • Total Votes Cast for Candidates: 138

The other 38 candidates on the ballot received 4 or fewer votes

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