No, the losing party doesn’t pay for the California recall election – taxpayers do

After Gov. Newsom prevailed in the recall election, some people were wondering who pays for it. Taxpayers do, and the election was estimated to cost $276 million.

The majority of voters in California voted against removing Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom in the state’s recall election on Sept. 14.

Gubernatorial recall elections are not typical, as this was only the fourth one in U.S. history. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 19 states and the District of Columbia allow state officials to be recalled. 

Following the California recall election, which cost more than a quarter-billion dollars, some people were wondering who pays for it, specifically asking if the party or candidates who lost the election have to foot the bill.


Does the losing party or other candidates pay for the California recall election?



This is false.

No, the losing party or other candidates does not pay for the California recall election. Taxpayers pay for the election.


When the California Secretary of State determines a recall petition has the minimum required signatures to prompt an election, the Department of Finance must estimate how much the election will cost, according to the state’s recall procedures.

In July, California’s Department of Finance estimated the recall election would cost $276 million. The estimated costs submitted by counties throughout the state totaled $243.6 million and the California secretary of state’s office estimated its expenses would be $32.4 million.

Those costs include overseeing the election, expenses for mailing and printing ballots and voter information guides, counting votes, verifying signatures and running poll sites, according to the California secretary of state’s office.

The Department of Finance described the expenses as “state and county costs,” meaning the money comes from taxpayers.

Furthermore, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal and policy advisor, says counties typically pay for election costs and may get some assistance from the state.

Candidates, regardless of the outcome of the recall election, only have to pay for campaign expenses like advertisements and rallies.

More from VERIFY: Yes, governors have been recalled before

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