portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

government | police / legal | political theory

California's Oct. 7 Recall Postponed Until Installation of New Voting Machines

A federal appeals court postponed California's Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election, ruling the historic vote cannot proceed as scheduled because some votes would be cast using outmoded punch-card ballot machines.

In what was the last of about a dozen legal challenges to the attempt to unseat Gov. Gray Davis, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday it is unacceptable that six counties would be using outdated punch-card ballots, the type that sparked the "hanging chads" litigation in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.
Federal appeals court postpones California's Oct. 7 recall vote

By David Kravets
ASSOCIATED PRESS
11:01 a.m. September 15, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO - A federal appeals court postponed California's Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election, ruling the historic vote cannot proceed as scheduled because some votes would be cast using outmoded punch-card ballot machines.

In what was the last of about a dozen legal challenges to the attempt to unseat Gov. Gray Davis, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday it is unacceptable that six counties would be using outdated punch-card ballots, the type that sparked the "hanging chads" litigation in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

The appellate panel agreed with the American Civil Liberties Union that the voting machines were prone to error and that Davis' fate could be decided later. By that time, the counties have promised to replace their punch-card machines under a court order in separate litigation.

The counties include the state's most populous region, Los Angeles, in addition to Mendocino, Sacramento, San Diego, Santa Clara and Solano. They represented 44 percent of the state's registered voters during the 2000 election.

"In sum, in assessing the public interest, the balance falls heavily in favor of postponing the election for a few months," the court said.

Ted Costa, head of the Sacramento-based Peoples' Advocate, one of the groups that put the recall on the ballot, said the group's attorneys will appeal the ruling.

"Give us 24 hours. We'll get something off to the Supreme Court," he said.

A Davis spokesman said the governor will continue his campaign "until the issue is resolved in the courts," but supported the appeals court's ruling.
"Anything that leads to greater enfranchisement in California is something we support," said spokesman Peter Ragone.

State officials, who conceded in court documents that the punch-card voting mechanisms are "more prone to voter error than are newer voting systems," said they had to review the ruling before deciding whether to appeal to the Supreme Court.

It was not immediately clear how the decision, if it survives, would impact the campaign in California's first voter-driven election to unseat its chief executive. The court stayed imposition of its decision for a week to allow time for appeals.

One possibility is that the nation's largest and most liberal federal appeals court might move the election to the next regularly scheduled primary on March 2.

All three judges on the 9th Circuit panel that ruled Monday were appointed by Democrats.

The Davis camp, and major Democratic and Republican candidates hoping to succeed him, have been waging an all-out campaign blitz of broadcast messages, fund-raisers and appearances throughout the state.

The San Francisco-based appeals panel overturned an Aug. 20 ruling by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson of Los Angeles, who said he would not delay the recall election. Wilson said it would be acting against the will of California's voters. In July, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley said more than 900,000 signatures of registered voters were collected to force a recall, and by law had about less than three months to call the hurry-up election.

State law also required Shelley to move from the March ballot to the recall ballot the only two voter initiatives that qualified for the ballot. Voting on those measures also has now been delayed.

One measure, Proposition 53, allocates state funding for schools and roads. The other, Proposition 54, prohibits California public governments and schools from tracking employees or students by race.

In other lawsuits, civil rights groups unsuccessfully fought to move Proposition 54 to the March ballot to give minorities more time to study it. In addition, some counties, to cut costs and conduct the election on a hurry-up schedule, were reducing the number of polling places, a move civil rights groups said would disenfranchise minority voters in areas with low voter turnout.

The case is Southwest Voter Registration Education Project v. Shelley, 03-56498.

homepage: homepage: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/politics/recall/20030915-1101-ca-recall-court.html
address: address: Associated Press

Now it all makes sense....I guess 15.Sep.2003 18:41

Doug

Aren't these the same machines they elected Davis with?

. 15.Sep.2003 21:24

.

Actually, no...

It is the Repugnicans who control these voting machines. The same people btw, who, through Enron, bilked California out of Billions. Now it is being blamed on Davis (not that I am supporting Davis or the Demolapse here you understand).

The voting needed to be delayed in order to have time to install these machines so the voting can more easily be fixed.

for Doug-- 15.Sep.2003 22:17

FYI

Diebold Voting Machine Controversy in Ohio
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/08/270902.shtml

Stop Bu$h From Stealing the 2004 Election
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/271049.shtml

Democracy Now! on Electronic Voting Machines--
Russian dictator Joseph Stalin once said: "Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

As millions of voters prepare to use electronic voting machines for the first time we take a look at the companies selling these machines and their ties to the Bush administration. We speak with reporter Julie Carr Smyth and author Bev Harris.
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/271194.shtml

The Voting-Machine Industrial Complex--
Electronic voting machines are simply the final nail in the people's coffin. The comatose electorate rests silently as the hammer of authoritarianism falls.
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2003/09/271736.shtml

FYI - hack the machines 16.Sep.2003 11:24

Fred

Thanks for the links.

The idea that they want to fill the last few counties with their controllable voting machines is certainly valid, but the larger picture IS the voting machines in general. Right now there are four counties in CA that have no paper trail and NO ONE is talking about this, despite at least one news article on it. I've written multiple letters to the ed and have tried to get people interested, but people feel even more powerless when it comes to state government beauracracy than anything else.

The larger issue is that there should not be ANY machines, accountable to no one, inspectable by no one.

But the best way to get that out will be to hack the machines on election day. Any one interested? I'm not technically capable, but now there is more time to get it done, now that the election has been moved. I'd be willing to try to fundraise to offer a bounty.