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Calaveras Voting Is ‘Fool Proof´

With California´s Special Election nearing, numerous details about the vote become clearer.

The special election will determine whether Gov. Gray Davis is recalled and, if so, who will succeed him. Two propositions also are on the ballot. As election-day approaches, recall opponents continue to raise questions about voting machine errors.

Luckily Calaveras County has a “pretty fool proof” system, Debbie Smith, county elections coordinator, said. “If it´s not lined up properly, it´s not going to punch,” Smith said. “Once the ballot is placed in there (voters) just choose who they want and they punch.”

Voters should review their ballots before they vote so they know where their candidate is because there are 135 candidates, Smith said.

If voters have an option, they should go to their polling place in the afternoon as mornings and evenings usually have long lines. The locations of polling places are on the back of the sample ballots.

The deadline to register to vote was Sept. 22. Voters who registered late will receive a post card confirming voter registration and their polling place. Extra sample ballots will be available at polling places.

First, voters will be asked if they want to recall Davis. If more than 50 percent of the voters say yes, Davis will be recalled. Next, voters may choose from a list of 135 candidates who seek to replace Davis.

The state voter information guide has detailed information on the election.

There were 116 candidates who voluntary abided by the expenditure limit of $10,624,000 as approved in Proposition 34. Those candidates were allowed to purchase space in the state guide for a 250-word statement.

Among candidates who submitted statements were Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, D-California, Peter Camejo, Green Party, and Arianna Huffington, Independent. The state guide also has Gov. Gray Davis´ argument against the recall.

In addition to the recall, two statewide propositions will be on the ballot. Proposition 53 is a proposed constitutional amendment sponsored by the state Legislature that would require a portion of the state´s budget to be set aside for infrastructure spending. Proposition 54 is a measure to ban government agencies from collecting racial data. Arguments for and against these propositions are contained in the state voter guide.

As of last Friday there were 8,421 absentee voter ballots sent out and 3,633 turned in. Absentee voting began on Sept. 8. Today is the last day to apply for an absentee-voter ballot by mail.

For voters voting absentee, “They should get their ballots in,” Smith said. “If the ballots are not returned either here or at their polling place by 8 p.m. on Oct. 7, they will not be counted. Post marks do not count.” A report by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley´s office said 14,995,501 California residents are registered voters and 25,065 of them are from Calaveras County.

The election will cost the state between $42 million and $55 million and Calaveras County between $50,000 and $70,000, according to Shelley´s office. In this year´s budget Calaveras County has allocated $58,000 for state recall election costs.

To be eligible to register to vote one must be a United States Citizen, be 18 years of age on or before the day of the election, be a resident of the California and not be in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony.

The polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Calaveras Enterprise story by Vanessa Turner. For more Calaveras news, click: calaverasenterprise.com