Busting Arnold

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California's Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamente tops Arnold in a Field poll, 25 percent to 22 percent, while the other candidates struggle over Gary Coleman-sized portions.

Other points of interest: 1. Two Hispanic groups, the Mexican American Bar Association and La Raza Lawyers of California are roping George W. Bush into the mess by urging the president to stop the recall on civil rights grounds. That may be far-fetched–the recall seems completely kosher by California's consitution–but it's sharp politics.

2. Gov. Gray Davis is now saying he'd sign a domestic partners law that's passed the state Assembly.

This should all only get more interesting as the recall election looms…

NEXT: Gay Marriage Redux

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  1. Wouldn’t that be an issue for the Supreme Court, rather than the president?

  2. Gray Davis’ public discussion of the gay rights legislation could benefit Lt. Governor Bustamante, as raising the issue will split the right. The more well-known Schwarzenegger’s support for domestic partnerships is, the more socially conservative voters are likely to vote for other Republican candidates.

  3. Joe,

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but are you saying that _convienience_ of voting falls under equal protection under law? If I can walk to my polling place in 5 minutes, but someone else has to take a crosstown bus, does that constitute discrimination?

    And if so, how do you propose to fix it?

  4. If it really is down to Arnold and Bustamente, that’s kind of sad… Not that the other candidates aren’t all wackos! Arnold doesn’t seem to have any new ideas that are resonating with the voters, just his outsider and celebrity status. Bustamente is politics as usual. All this freedom- direct democracy, refrerendum and that’s the best we get?

  5. On voting equipment and equal protection:

    Well, ideally everybody in the state should have voting equipment of comparable quality and reliability. One might be very well argue that equal protection requires that state election officials work to achieve that goal within the next year or two.

    However, to cancel all statewide elections until that goal is met seems to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Some of the people of California have petitioned their government for a redress of grievances, and under the law when enough of them do that we must have a recall election. We can’t have a republican form of government if we put free elections on hold.

    It isn’t perfect, and God help us if the margin is close on either the recall question or the replacement question, but we really have no choice but to proceed with this.

  6. I thought the SCUS ruled that any difference in voting (like having to vote on separate ballots or something) violates the equal protection and grants them the right to appoint a winner.

  7. Maybe I’m just ignorant, but if minority voters weren’t disenfranchised when they used these punch cards in 1998, 2000 and 2002, why are they disenfranchised now? Does the Voting Rights Act only come into effect when Gray Davis is falling in the polls?

  8. I just love the fact that voting equipment that was perfectly adequate to the task of electing a Democrat less than a year ago is now grossly inadequate to recall a Democrat.

  9. Warren, et. al,

    The Supreme Court speficially stated in Bush v. Gore that the decision was not to be used a precedent of any kind; it only applied to the facts at hand. (Of course, that was basically an admission that it was horrible law, but that’s what they said.)

  10. I have a sinking feeling that the recounts are going to last longer than the campaign.

  11. Warren,

    scrotus is right. The Supreme Court wrote into their decision that they excuse they came up with to give the Bush kid the election couldn’t be applied in any other cases. If you’ve never heard of this legal reasoning before, it’s because it doesn’t actually exist. It was nullified in the same ruling that created it – it was the legal equivalent of an exotic form of matter than can only exist for a nanosecond in a partical accelerator.

    Brian,

    I was actually more worried about equipment failures causing spoiled ballots. This is unfair to individual voters, and if there is a differential is where the problem occurs, can have the effect of disenfranchising people based on their community, race, income, neighborhood, etc.

    But a wide difference in the accessibility, visibility, and user-friendliness of polling places can drive up turnout in some places and drive it down in others, skewing the results.

    So, yes, I am concerned about having shoddy election stations and equipment.

    thoreau,

    I understand you, but keep in mind: this was not a scheduled election. Elections for office are held on the same date every election year according to Constitutional procedure. That’s a big deal to Americans, bigger than people from parliamentary democracies understand. If the problem was going to delay an scheduled election, the state would have to do the best it coult within the legal timeframe. But in the case of a mid-term recall election, I don’t see waiting for the problems to be solved as a violation of anything.

  12. Joe-

    I also sympathize with your point. However, this election is required by the state Constitution. Now, granted, the federal Constitution takes precedence over the CA Constitution (I’m sure I’ll get flamed over that), but federal judges should give a state maximum leeway when it schedules an election in response to a petition by the citizens.

    From what I understand, most of California is well on the way toward eliminating punch-card machines, and all of CA is (from what I understand, all caveats applying) scheduled to use better machines in March. So this isn’t the case of a recalcitrant state refusing to remedy inequalities (we won’t need Eisenhower to send the National Guard). This is the case of a state with a plan to remedy the problem, but something unexpected has come up at the behest of the citizens (not the politicians), and it’s come up before the planned remedy can be put in place.

    In other words, give us a break, because we are doing our very best to comply.

    Also, it’s safe to assume at least a few of the counties (albeit not those mentioned in the suit) have improved their equipment since last November. With local elections coming up this November in some counties, it would make sense. So the recall election will be held under circumstances no worse than, and arguably better than, the election that gave Davis his second term. From a procedural standpoint, Davis’s recall is at least as legitimate as his re-election.

    Besides, we’re having too much fun to have to wait until March! Please, let us choose between porn stars and child actors now! Don’t make us wait! 😉

  13. If Bustamante wins, it would be highly ironic. What would be even more humorous is a Davis victory (he wins the recall in other words).

  14. Nick,

    BTW, you are aware that the US has a federal constitution, right? Is it “kosher” with that governing document as well? Besides, why would they be appealling to Shrub if it weren’t an issue of the federal constitution?

  15. Asking George Bush to uphold the voting rights act. Good luck with that.

  16. Unless it’s been changed when the lights were out, I believe the constitution says that voting is left up to the individual states.

  17. Yes, but equal protection under the law is the feds’ businessess. If the states run their elections in a manner that does not provide equal voting rights, the state is in violation of the federal constitution.

  18. They appeal to Shrub because he’s the guy who enforces the Voting Rights’ Act; or well, the Department of Justice (which is under his sway) does. That means Asscroft!

    Asto the SCOTUs nullifying the applicability of its decision in Gush v. Bore (2000), well, that has much chance of occuring as pig’s flying. The SCOTUS opened the door, and the swine will follow.

  19. When I voted in the last Cali election, I used a punch card & didn’t feel in any way disadvantaged. The Dems are just doing whatever it takes to keep their guy in power, in other words, things are going as usual. Of course, the increasing Third World nature of Cali is largely due to the success of Cali Dems.

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