Daily Kos
Political analysis and other daily rants on the state of the nation

Monday | September 15, 2003

Recall election halted


The California Recall election has been put on hold by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday it is unacceptable that six counties would be using outdated punch-card ballots, the type that sparked the "hanging chads" litigation in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.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.

Will the Supreme Court get involved? It's hard to see the Supremes, still smarting over Florida 2000, getting involved in this. They passed on the opportunity to get involved in New Jersey's 2002 Senate race, and my guess is they'll do the same here.

In any case, this delay is not necessarily a good thing. Momentum has been moving toward Davis and Bustamante. We may be able to sustain that momentum over an extra few months, but then again, we may not. This is brand new uncertainty.

And more importantly, this gives the GOP that much more time to get McClintock to abandon the race. With the zeal of a "true believer", I doubt McClintock will abandon the race. He is not only running for governor, but he's raising his profile and bona fides for a future statewide run. Dropping out wouldn't serve him well.

But you never know. And the GOP would have an extra few months to pressure McClintock to be a team player.

Now, if the courts delay the recall vote until California's March primary, then all bets are off. That would be good for Democrats no matter which way it was sliced.

Update: It appears the decision would definitely push the date of the recall election to coincide with the March primary. So this is clearly a good development.

Posted September 15, 2003 10:48 AM | Comments (118)


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