SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Two hundred and seventy six million dollars.
That's the cost of the California gubernatorial recall election, according to the California Department of Finance.
The recall's price tag is something Gov. Newsom supporters have been sounding.
"We've seen Trump Republicans across the country attacking election results and the right to vote," Senator Elizabeth Warren said in a "Stop the Republican Recall" advertisement. "Now they're coming to grab power in California, abusing the recall process and costing taxpayers millions."
So, let's break down the expense of this recall a little more.
To administer the election, the California Department of Finance found all 58 California counties needed a total of $243 million. The California Secretary of State needed $32.4 million, resulting in $276 million.
Costs depend on the county. For example, the Department of Finance allotted $20 million for San Diego County, while Sacramento County got $5.3 million.
Costs for the California Secretary of State administering the election are broken down by specific costs for printing, mailing, security and workers.
These costs can add up quick.
That's why as recall election efforts began ramping up in May, California legislative leaders were asked to include this funding in the 2021-22 state budget, saying it would be "a severe financial burden to counties."
These election funds were then approved in the 2021-22 state budget through three bills: AB 128 with $215,234,000, SB 152 with $35,000,000 and AB 161 with $28,350,000.
The 2021-22 California budget has a general fund of $196.4 billion. Putting the recall election at about one-tenth of one-percent of the state budget.
It's also true that the state is operating with a budget surplus because more tax revenue is coming in than expected. The legislative analyst's office estimated California to have a $38 billion surplus in the 2021-22 budget. According to the Legislative Analyst's Office, the state has plans to use that for a variety of things, including homelessness and housing, fire prevention and transportation. But a small amount of it, $276, million, is now allocated for this recall election.
But let's narrow it down even more. How much is this costing each California taxpayer? Well, there's a couple of ways to look at it. There's a total of 39.5 million people who live in California, the United States Census Bureau reports. That means if every Californian was paying for the recall election, it'd cost each person around $7 ($276,000,000 ÷ 39,500,000 = $6.99).
Except, not all those folks pay taxes. If we break it down by those 18 and older — 30,600,000 Californians according to the U.S. Census Bureau — it estimates to about $9 per person ($276,000,000 ÷ 30,600,000 = $9.02).
Yet, not every single Californian over the age of 18 will vote in the recall election. So, here's two more ways to look at it:
If the 2 million people who signed the recall campaign launching the election, paid for it themselves, it would cost each about $138 ($276,000,000 ÷ 2,000,000 = $138).
There's 22,160,278 registered voters in California and it's anticipated only about 60% of them will vote, Political Data Incorporated estimates. If it was costing each person who is expected to vote, it'd be $20.75 (60% of 22,160,278 = 13,296,167 and $276,000,000 ÷ 13,296,167 = $20.75).
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