A California judge on Monday ruled that Gov. Gavin Newsom can’t identify himself as a Democrat on September’s recall ballot because he missed a deadline to designate his party, The Los Angeles Times reports.
California Secretary of State Shirley Weber said in June that the governor’s lawyers failed to designate his party as required by state law when his team responded to the recall early last year.
Newsom sued Weber in June to require her to print his party on the ballot but Super Court Judge James Arguelles rejected the request.
Arguelles ruled that Newsom’s argument that the oversight was a good-faith error by his lawyer was not enough to overrule the state law, which requires that party preference “shall not appear” on a recall ballot unless it is done in time.
Weber backed Newsom:
Despite the lawsuit and the error, Weber, a Democrat, supported adding Newsom’s affiliation to the ballot to allow voters to make a “more informed choice.”
Weber was appointed by Newsom in December after naming former Secretary of State Alex Padilla to Vice President Kamala Harris’ vacated Senate seat.
Newsom’s attorney Thomas Willis said he was to blame because he was unaware of the law.
It’s unclear if Newsom will appeal the ruling.
Will it affect results?
Polls show that most California voters oppose the recall election but Democrats worry that their turnout in the special election may be a problem given the energy of Newsom’s opponents.
“I think it’s obvious that the risks of a low turnout, the risks of an uninformed electorate, could be catastrophic for our state,” Assemblyman David Chiu said. “It’s just so important that all of us work hard to educate every corner, every city, every county, every small community in California on what is at stake.”
California Democratic Party Chairman Rusty Hicks vowed to do everything he could to defeat the “Republican recall.”
“We recognize that the eyes of the nation are on California over the next two and a half months or so, and we’re prepared to step forward and do what’s necessary,” he said.