California counties expect to spend an estimated $215 million to conduct a statewide special recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to a report compiled by the California Department of Finance.
That's more than the $200 million local public health officials requested from Newsom in this year's budget to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for future challenges.
The estimate from counties comes as state agencies prepare for the expected recall election, which has not been scheduled.
The chances of the recall successfully removing Newsom remain slim, according to experts and pollsters. A recent survey from the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found support for recalling the governor stands at 36%.
Last month, a coalition of county organizations requested that lawmakers include recall election funding in the 2021 Budget Act. The Department of Finance asked for cost estimates from all 58 California counties so a provision may be included in the budget, which is due next Tuesday.
The $215 million cost to counties is not the final tally for a recall election, according to a memo from the finance department sent Thursday. The secretary of state's costs have yet to be calculated.
Finance is required to provide estimates regarding the costs of the recall election to the governor, secretary of state, and the chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee after the secretary of state provides notice that there are sufficient signatures to initiate a recall, which it has not done yet.
In a joint statement, Senate President pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, said the Legislature will give counties the funding they need to conduct the election, and as a result, lawmakers can waive the required 30-day review period for the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.
Waiving that review period could potentially move the recall to an earlier date than expected.
"Our local communities don't deserve to be saddled with unnecessary recall costs as they work to recover from the pandemic," the leaders wrote in a statement. "The Legislature will lift the burden from their plate and include $215 million in the budget bill to have the state cover the costs. In addition, this funding will allow for an earlier recall election."
Costs to individual counties ranged from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of millions of dollars. Under a provision passed earlier this year, all California registered voters will receive a mail ballot for special elections held in 2021, similar to the 2020 presidential election, due to ongoing concerns about the coronavirus.
Here's what Bay Area counties estimates a recall election will cost them, according to the Department of Finance:
• Alameda County $20,970,518
• Contra Costa County $4,536,800
• Marin County $1,462,919
• Napa County $557,156
• San Francisco County $8,296,339
• San Mateo County $3,964,000
• Santa Clara County $14,478,054
• Solano County $2,991,426
• Sonoma County $1,406,563
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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