Posted 15 September 2003 - 02:56 PM
Skimming the decision, the crux does appear to be the machines... with the caveat that everything will be Just Fine in time for the 2004 election.
It's also hard to take the decision seriously, as it frequently uses the word "VotoMatic". While it's a company name, they're on to something. Arnold would be the Govomatic. Ooh, or "jurispudencematic". "Vetomatic"? Sorry, sorry...
Let's see... it details the laundry list of problems with punch cards.
Apparently, California law does give the Secretary of State the power to "withdrawal his approval a voting system"... which has the effect of canceling the election.
According to the decision, 44% of the electorate will be subjected to a system that is 250% more likely to have errors... which, if accurate, means the disenfranchisement of 40,000 voters.
Ironically, Bush vs. Gore is cited: "The right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen's vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the franchise"
A lot of this relies on Gray vs. Sanders (which established that somebody's vote should count the same no matter where they live.. no weighting the vote, aside from the electoral college). Essentially, the argument is that by having a known inferior system in some areas, that important principle is being violated.
The consequences of this "logic" are chilling: No county can ever advance or change its voting technology, unless every other county does it at the exact same time. Ther'es no way that can stand up.
The decision actually goes so far as to mention the punch card errors that no doubt occurred in 2002.
"Indeed, the error use of punchard voting in the 2002 election actually increased in the 2002 California gubernatorial election...."
WHAT THE HELL?!?!?!?!? You *admit* Davis was elected by a faulty system, and use that very faulty election to justify delaying the one to remove him!
*retrieves a bottle of Tylenol. Ah, much better...*
Arg... this section is too long to type the whole thing, but you can't copy/paste.
They concede that the constitution requires that the election be held sixty days after the certification. The argument seems to be that since the election would have been held in 2004 if the recall had been filed just 90 days later, it's okay to delay it more <If there's an election within six months, the recall and the election are consolidated>. This, however, violates the CA constitution.
However, if the 9th circuit's interpretation is right, the voting rights issues probably trumps that clause. Maybe.
"The California Constitution already permits up to a six month delay to advance the State's interest in efficiency and convenience; the requested injunction would result in only a seven and a half delay to cure a substantial constitutional violation."
Again, citing Bush:
"The press of time does not diminish the constitutional concern. A desire for speed is not a general excuse for ignoring equal protection guarantees."
By page 57, they get to other concerns.
"There are also some unique pragmatic problems associated with this election that may be alleviated by a short postponement. For example, because of the short timetable established for the election, approximately a quarter of California's polling places-- 5,000 to 20,000-- will not be ready for use and voters will be forced to vote at a different voting place."
Another issue brought up is that the punch ballots will be really, really, hard to use with so many candidates. That's probably true.
Another issue brought up is that members of our armed forces may not have had time to get absentee ballots.
Another point brought up is that California sec of state didn't mail the 'voter information pamphlets' in time; in theory, they have to be made public 100 days before the election, and mailed 40 days before. The state mailed them 33 days before the election. This strikes me as rather trivial.
Further, the court employs a double standard; earlier, it says that voter education won't help reduce punch ballot error. Then it says that voter education wasn't done soon enough. Either it matters or it doesn't. Pick one.
Conclusion: It looks like the recall as it is *will* violate some state law. But the state constitution trumps that. The real issue is indeed whether the polling place issue and the punch cards are serious enough to violate the CA constitution.
St. Louis must be destroyed!
Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease. THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.
"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. § 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.