For the complete article, read Appeals Court Delays California Recall Vote
Court Delays California Recall Vote
9th Circuit Allows One Week for Appeal to Supreme Court
By William Booth
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 15, 2003; 4:00 PM
LOS ANGELES -- Three weeks before voters are scheduled to go to the polls in California's historic recall, a federal appeals court today postponed the Oct. 7 election, ruling that the use of older punch-card ballot machines would disenfranchise poor and minority voters.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the American Civil Liberties Union that the use of punch cards in six urban counties would subject voters there to a greater likelihood that the ballots would be misread or discarded as happened during Florida's election fiasco in the presidential vote in 2000.
In its decision, the judicial panel relied in part on the Supreme Court ruling that decided the hotly contested race between then vice president Al Gore and then Texas governor George W. Bush. The court wrote today, "The choice between holding a hurried, constitutionally infirm election and one held a short time later that assures voters that the 'rudimentary requirements of equal treatment and fundamental fairness are satisfied' is clear. . . . These issues are better resolved prophylactically than by bitter, post-election litigation over the legitimacy of the election, particularly where the margin of voting machine error may well exceed the margin of victory. The Supreme Court's admonition in [the Florida case] bears re-quoting: 'The press of time does not diminish the constitutional concern. A desire for speed is not a general excuse for ignoring equal protection guarantees.' "