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California´s Recall Election On Hold

A federal appeals court has postponed California´s October 7 gubernatorial recall election. The justices in San Francisco ruled this morning the historic vote cannot proceed as scheduled because some votes would be cast using outmoded punch-card ballot machines.

The recall had been scheduled for October 7.

More than 130 candidates had qualified for the ballot in the effort to unseat Governor Gray Davis. The ruling from a three-judge panel came in the last of about a dozen legal challenges to the recall. The judges found it unacceptable for six of the counties to use the punch-card ballots. Those are the same type that brought the “hanging chads” controversy following the 2000 presidential election.

The ruling was handed down in what was the last of about a dozen legal challenges trying to delay or thwart the recall to unseat Governor Davis.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth U-S Circuit Court of Appeals said today it is unacceptable that six counties would be using outdated punch-card ballots. That´s 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 are prone to error and that Davis´ fate can 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.