Problematic voting systems lead court to delay Calif. recall

A federal appeals court put California’s gubernatorial recall poll on hold because obsolete punch-card voting technology could prevent votes from being counted.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted a preliminary injunction in the case of Southwest Voter Registration Education Project et al v. Kevin Shelley. Shelley is the California secretary of State. (Click to link to PDF of the decision)

The plaintiffs want the recall poll, set for Oct. 7, delayed until a regularly scheduled primary election six months from now.

They contend that 44 percent of the state’s electorate would be forced to use punch-card technology that the secretary of State has found unacceptable and banned from use in elections.

“The inherent defects in the system are such that approximately 40,000 voters who travel to the polls and cast their ballot will not have their vote counted at all,” the court said. “It is perhaps ironic that the sitting governor could cast a vote on his own recall that would not be tallied.”

The appeals court reversed a decision of a lower court in reaching its decision. The parties to the case reportedly will seek a ruling on the appeals court’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.

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