2 Bay Area lawmakers want to reform California's recall election process

One day after Governor Gavin Newsom beat back efforts to recall him, two Bay Area democratic lawmakers say it is time to fix what they say is a broken system.

"Voters want a more democratic process put in place that keeps elected officials accountable and prevents political gamesmanship of the rules," said California State Senator Steve Glazer of Orinda. He chairs the Senate's Elections Committee.

On Wednesday, he and fellow Democrat Assemblyman Marc Berman of Menlo Park announced plans to hold hearings and craft a new recall process.

"We do need reform. A majority of Californians are frustrated we spent $276 million on a recall that has certified what voters said three years ago," said Berman.

It will be up to voters to approve it in the form of a future ballot measure.

Any proposed changes have yet to be determined. But one question is whether mere disagreements over policy should be enough to trigger a recall.

"A discussion on whether or not some criminal conduct or malfeasance should be a threshold issue is something we are going to discuss," said Berman.

Another concern is whether a recalled governor should be replaced by someone who gets less than 50% of the vote.

Here are some who feel it should be runoff and make a compelling argument that the lt. Governor should step in if a recall was successful, subject to an election at a future date," said Glazer.

Appearing in the Bay Area for his first post-election appearance, Newsom offered no proposed solutions to the recall system.

"I leave that to the legislature and others to process. I just think it's a strange place to be as someone who may be on the receiving end yet again," said Newsom.

Newsom and former governor Gray Davis are the only California governors to face recall elections. 

There have been 53 other attempts on governors since 1912. All those attempts failed to collect enough signatures in time to be put it on the ballot.

David McCuan, a political science professor at Sonoma State University, questions whether California voters would approve any changes.

"Do you want to go with the devil you know even though it may be ugly and problematic or do you want to go into that great unknown? And that move into the great unknown gives many voters pause," he says.

Republican leaders say making changes to the recall process is unnecessary.

Glazer and Berman say they expect to hold hearings beginning in the fall.

The voters could get to decide by November 2022, at the earliest.