A Recall Election Message for Long Beach: The Democratic Process Is Yours

Written by on September 7, 2021

Special Op-Ed to California Black Media Network: Naomi Rainey-Pierson, President, Long Beach Branch NAACP

California is going to the polls. An election to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom is currently underway, and voters across Los Angeles County have been returning their mail-in ballots and the County Clerk is counting them as soon as they are received. Election day on Sept. 14 will be the last chance to perform our civic duty and have our voices heard. 

Naomi Rainey-Pierson, President-Long Beach Branch NAACP

As your Long Beach NAACP president. I encourage all proud registered voters living in our beautiful city to get out and vote either by mail or at the polls. The NAACP is bringing a state-wide message to all Californians – no matter who you choose, no matter your affiliation, age or background, get out vote in this election for your future, and for your community. If you are not registered, it’s not too late to register to vote in person. 

The recall ballot you’ll receive contains just two questions. The first asks if you support recalling (or, in plain English, firing) Gov. Newsom. If more than 50% support the recall, the current governor will be replaced. The ballot’s second question lists all the eligible recall candidates who are campaigning to be governor, and whoever gets the most votes will hold the office through January 2023, which constitutes the rest of Newsom’s term.

Like every election, the outcome depends on our collective participation. That’s why making your voice heard and your vote count is so important. It’s our civic duty to vote and it’s a responsibility we should not take for granted.

And the outcome matters. This special election will determine whether the Governor remains in his job or is replaced. Gov. Newsom will remain if the ‘no’ votes are the majority. But if there are more ‘yes’ votes, the replacement candidate with the most votes will take over as Governor and they will be making important decisions that impact your lives and your access to important services — like funding for our public schools and how the state taxes you pay are used to support state programs.

The NAACP has been leading the charge for Black American voting rights for over a century. Long Beach branch is part of a long and proud tradition. We follow in the footsteps of giants like Sojourner Truth, born at the turn of the 19th century, spent thirty years of her life enslaved. When she won her freedom, she dedicated herself to fighting slavery and securing equal rights across races and genders. Her life-long sacrifices — along with countless other racial equity fighters — mean the right to vote as a US citizen should never be taken for granted.

Thankfully, our state makes voting so convenient that there is no excuse for anyone not to vote. In 2016, California lawmakers passed the Voter’s Choice Act (VCA). The VCA expanded early voting in Los Angeles County. Traditional polling places have been replaced with vote centers which serve as a one-stop shops for all your voting needs. 

At a vote center, you can vote in person, get help in multiple languages, cast your vote by using an accessible voting machine, and utilize same day registration and cast your ballot the same day. Voters can vote at any center in the county up to 10 days before Election Day. 

All registered Los Angeles voters have been sent a ballot in the mail. Returned ballots have already been counted. The deadline for registering or re-registering for the recall election was Monday, August 30. If you missed the deadline, you can “conditionally” register and vote at any vote center after the voter registration deadline, up to and including Election Day. 

The Secretary of State website also offers a tool to help you find early voting and ballot drop-off locations in your neighborhood. You can use the BallotTrax tool to confirm that your vote has been counted.

About the Author

Naomi Rainey-Pierson is the President of the Long Beach Branch NAACP. As an award-winning educator, philanthropist, entrepreneur and civil rights activist who has had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of community members, including many at-risk children.

Ms. Rainey-Pierson has been actively involved with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since the age of 14. A past vice president of the California State Conference NAACP, she has served as president of the NAACP’s Long Beach Branch since 2000. Under her leadership, the branch received the national Thalheimer Award, the NAACP’s top honor for outstanding achievements by branches and units.


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