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California Disability Voter Guide

As Recall Election Arrives, 4,131,700 Californians have Disabilities

Candidates weigh in on the most important issues that impact the disability community

Sacramento, CA, August 17 – Ballots are already being mailed to voters and on September 14, 2021, Californians with and without disabilities will go to the polls to vote in the California Gubernatorial Recall Election. The eyes of the nation are on the Golden State as voters ultimately decide whether to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom and appoint a new leader in his place. According to the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are 4,131,700 Californians living with some form of disability and they make up 10.6 percent of the state’s population.

Voters with disabilities want access in democracy, just like anyone else. At the same time, they have specific issues of interest. For example, in the economic expansion prior to COVID, only 38.2 percent of more than 1.9 million working age (18-64) Californians with disabilities, had jobs.

When they go to cast their ballots, California voters will have to complete a special, two-part ballot. First, the ballot asks the simple recall question itself: “Shall GAVIN NEWSOM be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?” 

After that, the recall ballot contains a second question and select their preferred candidate out of a complete list of replacement candidates. 

As explained online by the California Secretary of State: “If a majority of the votes on the recall question are “Yes,” Governor Newsom shall be removed from office and the replacement candidate receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected for the remainder of the governor’s term of office (ending January 2, 2023).  If one-half or more of the votes on the recall question are “No,” Governor Newsom shall remain in office.”

This means that a candidate could be elected governor with a very small number of votes, if they get more than any of the other 40 candidates.

Visit the Secretary of State’s website for more details and to get specific answers about the recall election.

In preparation for this critically important election, RespectAbility has asked Democratic, Republican, and independent candidates in the California Gubernatorial Recall Election the same key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities. These questions have included specific details about employment, education, criminal justice, and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns to solicit responses to the questionnaire. 

“The disability community is unique,” said Olegario “Ollie” Cantos VII, RespectAbility’s new Chairman. “It is the only minority group that anyone can join at any time due to illness, injury, or aging. What that means is that there are people with disabilities in every state, and that the community’s interests intersect with so many issues, including race, gender, poverty, criminal justice and inequality.” 

Below you can read responses from candidates on the special, recall ballot.

Candidates who have responded so far and links to their full answers:

Dr. Brandon Ross headshot
Brandon M. Ross, Democrat
Patrick Kilpatrick smiling headshot
Patrick Kilpatrick, Democrat
Rhonda Furin smiling in front of a blurred California neighborhood
Rhonda Furin, Republican
Dr. James G. Hanink headshot smiling
James G. Hanink, Independent
Holly Baade smiling in front of a flag
Holly Baade, Democrat
Joe Summon
Joe Symmon, Republican
Robert Newman smiling headshot wearing an American flag polo shirt
Robert C. Newman II, Republican

Joel Ventresca speaking
Joel Ventresca, Democrat
Nickolas Wildstar holding a microphone speaking at an event in front of trees
Nickolas Wildstar, Republican
Sam Gallucci headshot wearing a suit and tie
Sam Gallucci, Republican
Heather Collins smiling headshot
Heather Collins, Green

Candidates who have yet to respond (and whose answers will be posted in full if they do respond):

  • Gov. Gavin Newsom, Democrat
  • John R. Drake, Democrat 
  • Jacqueline McGowan, Democrat
  • Kevin Paffrath, Democrat
  • Armando “Mando” Perez-Serrato, Democrat
  • Daniel Watts, Democrat
  • David Alexander Bramante, Republican
  • John Cox, Republican
  • Larry A. Elder, Republican
  • Kevin L. Faulconer, Republican
  • Ted Gaines, Republican
  • David Hillberg, Republican
  • Caitlyn Jenner, Republican
  • Kevin Kiley, Republican
  • Chauncey “Slim” Killens, Republican
  • Jenny Rae Le Roux, Republican
  • Steve Chavez Lodge, Republican
  • David Lozano, Republican
  • Diego Martinez, Republican 
  • Daniel Mercuri, Republican
  • Doug Ose, Republican
  • Sarah Stephens, Republican 
  • Denver Stoner, Republican 
  • Anthony Trimino, Republican
  • Leo S. Zacky, Republican
  • Dan Kapelovitz, Green
  • Jeff Hewitt, Libertarian
  • Angelyne, No Party Preference 
  • Kevin K. Kaul, No Party Preference
  • Michael Loebs, No Party Preference
  • Denis Lucey, No Party Preference
  • Jeremiah “Jeremy” Marciniak, No Party Preference
  • David Moore, No Party Preference
  • Adam Papagan, No Party Preference 
  • Dennis Richter, No Party Preference
  • Major Singh, No Party Preference

RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2020 candidates and 2021 campaign outreach. Review the full list of Recall Election Candidates.

Published inGovernorsRespectAbility Disability Voters' Guide

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