A steady stream of Orange residents and college students filed into Argyros Forum at Chapman University Tuesday to cast their ballots on the last day of voting for the gubernatorial recall election, one of dozens of sites in Orange County to which voters flocked.

Editors’ Note: This dispatch is part of the Voice of OC Collegiate News Service, working with student journalists to cover public policy issues across Orange County. If you would like to submit your own student media project related to Orange County civics or if you have any response to this work, contact Collegiate News Service Editor Vik Jolly at vjolly@voiceofoc.org.

The fate of Gov. Gavin Newsom, the 40th governor of California, is in the hands of the Golden State residents. Fred Smoller, a Chapman political science professor, attributed Newsom’s response to the pandemic as the catalyst behind this recall election. Newsom is only the second governor in California to face a recall.

“Some people are upset about the overreach of Newsom’s aggressive shutdowns,” Smoller said.

While some who voted at Chapman on Election Day were not enthused about Newsom’s actions as governor, opinions on whether he needs to be replaced were divided. 

“I voted for Newsom to stay. I don’t love the way that he has handled COVID-19, but more restrictions are better than none,” said Chapman junior Audrey Fish. 

Others said that Newsom had his chance to better California and failed.

“Newsom hasn’t been doing a good job with COVID-19, and the homelessness issue is out of control. He has had time to fix this, but he has not,” said Orange resident Casey Crosby. 

Some who voted in person said they felt it was a more accessible, secure way to cast their ballot. Nearly 825,000 Orange County residents opted to vote by mail, according to data provided by the OC Registrar of Voters

“I was actually expecting more people to be here,” said Orange resident Chanel Martinez, “I voted in person so that way I know my vote will be counted, for security reasons.”

Professor Smoller said he feels confident that Newsom will hold on to his position despite what he believes will be a high Republican turnout for in-person voting. 

“Republicans will dominate in-person voting, but there just aren’t enough of them to undermine Democrats’ mail-in ballots,” Smoller said. “The state is 2-1 Democrats.”

The polls closed at 8 p.m. 

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