Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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Sara Rubin here, in the midst of…election season. Yes, it might be late summer, but a critical Sept. 14 Election Day is just a few weeks away. It would be impossible for any leader to get through a pandemic with a high popularity score—some members of the public will think you did too much, while others think you didn’t do enough—but California Gov. Gavin Newsom finds himself facing a recall vote. 

No doubt his opponents are banking on some combination of voter confusion and voter apathy to prevail, at least among voters who are satisfied with his performance three years into a four-year term. If more than 50 percent of voters say yes on question 1—should Gavin Newsom be recalled?—then he’s out as governor. 

If the answer to question 1 is yes, then it moves on to question 2‚ the selection of a candidate to replace him. Good luck navigating your way through the list of 46. (CalMatters has been interviewing each of those candidates and introducing them, many of them brand new to politics.) 

Note that if it does come down to question 2,  it doesn’t require a majority (50 percent or more) to win, but a plurality—meaning the vote-getter with the most votes out of those 46 would be California’s next governor. (Check back for more analysis, and an endorsement on both questions 1 and 2, in the Sept. 2 edition of Monterey County Weekly.) 

Besides questions about who to vote for, I’ve also been receiving reader questions about how to vote. Some important things to know: It’s OK to leave question 2 blank, your ballot will still be counted. Every registered voter has received a vote-by-mail ballot, but you can still vote in person if you wish (bring your vote-by-mail ballot with you). You can return your ballot by mail, no postage required, as long as it’s postmarked by Sept. 14, or you can drop it off at a number of locations until Sept. 14. (Click here for an interactive map of drop boxes.)

Those sample ballots I’ve been getting a bunch of questions about—elections officials are required by law to send those out. If you accidentally fill out and return it, it will still be counted. To see if your ballot has been received yet, click here

And if you’re not registered to vote, it’s not too late—you have until Monday, Aug. 30. Click here to register.

The election is, of course, a critical test for Newsom, but I also see it as a test for voters. Will we, the public, show up in their weird off-season election with just two questions on the ballot? I sure hope so. Partly because low turnout depresses me personally, and also because our democratic system is built upon voting—and it only works when we actually do. 

Voting makes me feel patriotic. It is a hard-earned right and a duty. I hope you’ll join me in voting this election.

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