September 16, 2003


Recall postponement frustrates election officials (Sam Stanton, Mary Lynne Vellinga and Gary Delsohn, September 15, 2003, Sacramento Bee)

Monday’s court ruling postponing the Oct. 7 recall vote left elections officials confused and frustrated as they suggested they may have to throw away tens of thousands of absentee ballots already cast by voters.

Barring a legal decision that restores the Oct. 7 election date, voting officials said they likely will end up throwing away the thousands of absentee ballots that already have been returned by voters.

“I think it’s going to create tremendous confusion with our voters,” said Yolo County Clerk-Recorder Freddie Oakley. “We’re already getting calls from people saying, ‘I already voted; what are you going to do with my ballot?’”

As of Monday, voters had returned about 31,000 absentee ballots in Placer, El Dorado, Sacramento and Yolo Counties, officials said, out of 234,107 that had been mailed out.

If the election is postponed, those ballots will be stored for awhile, as required by law, and then will be “pulped,” Oakley said.

But wait, it gets better, Isn't this a story in itself? (Daniel Weintraub, 9/16/03, California Insider)
Bombshell deep in the LA Times story on the court decision:

And voting officials, already struggling to produce an election on a short deadline, were handed a new problem to consider: whether combining the lengthy recall ballot with the primary in March would produce a behemoth too large for the newer voting machines to handle.

"It's more than a wrinkle," said Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Conny McCormack. "No one even asked the largest county in the state if we had the capacity to run it in March. The answer is no."

The tragic thing about this is that it just feeds the Anti-American beast abroad. The BBC was leading with the story of the decrepit voting machines last night and you can just see the spokesmen for vile regimes around the world saying: "Who are the Amerricans to lecture us on democracy and voting?"

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 16, 2003 10:32 AM


I don't think that you need to be reminded of this but I will do so anyway: the rest of the world would hate us if gave away 1/2 of our GDP to the poor in Africa and had our soldiers building houses for every destitute man, woman, & child in the western hemisphere. A bureaucratic glitch in California is hardly going to pin the needle on the "hate America meter." As for the BBC, well, they haven't met a third-world dictator they haven't wanted to fellate publicly and they behave as if someone pees in their cornflakes every morning. Their opinions are hardly worth worrying about.

Posted by: David at September 16, 2003 11:24 AM


I agree the voting issue is a bunch of whooey. I'm saying the Democrats using it to halt an election adds fuel to the fires our enemies are stoking.

Posted by: oj at September 16, 2003 11:55 AM

I'm willing for this to be a stupid question but: How valid, then, is last November's election of Davis in the first place? And couldn't it's results be challenged on the basis of this ruling? (oops, guess that's 2 stupid questions).

Posted by: John Resnick at September 16, 2003 12:13 PM

Hell let's just suspend the next presidential election; in light of the confusion in Florida,
the unreliability of the other alternatives,
Would the IndepGuardObserver's Fisk, the Mirror's
Pilger, and their mirror images of Moore, Ivins,
Franken, Rall et al; say anything different

Posted by: narciso at September 16, 2003 1:51 PM

John, if that's a stupid question, then I'mm stupid, because that was my first thought.

As for the machines being unable to handle a big ballot, I read somewhere that the propositions on the last California ballot were so numerous that the SF electoral book (not, I gather, the ballot but some sort of statement out out by the electoral office) was over 300 pages.

If that's a problem for the new machines, presumably it would be with or without the addition of a Davis recall question

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 16, 2003 2:23 PM