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How is a Ballot Treated if the Recall Question is Left Blank?

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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:09 PM
Original message
How is a Ballot Treated if the Recall Question is Left Blank?
1) To succeed, does the recall need over 50% of ALL ballots or of ballots containing a legal Yes or No vote?

2) If a ballot has no vote on the recall question, is a vote for a specific candidate still counted?


Does anyone know for sure? The questions were raised on another thread, but no one seemed to be certain of the answer. I tried to search for the answer, but couldn't find the question addressed anywhere.

It's an especially live issue because there are anecdotal reports of people voting for Schwartzenegger but forgetting to vote "Yes" for the recall. Could even be the difference in the election.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. That would be a good point to keep an eye on
nt
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:14 PM
Response to Original message
2. Yes and Yes
The first question on the ballot(recall) is a seperate question
from the second (candidates to replace Davis if the recall wins)
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. So, Proud Patriot, If The Results on the Recall Question Are:
Yes: 500,000
No: 499,000
Blank: 2,000

The recall loses? Will have to watch this very carefully. The reports of voter turnout are interesting but unpredictable.
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KFC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Blank votes obviously do not count
So yes would win by 1,000 votes
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MoonGod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. From the California Constituion...
(c) If the majority vote on the question is to recall, the officer
is removed and, if there is a candidate, the candidate who receives
a plurality is the successor. The officer may not be a candidate,
nor shall there be any candidacy for an office filled pursuant to
subdivision (d) of Section 16 of Article VI.


That it says "majority vote on the question" as opposed to "on the ballot" would seem to mean that only people who actually vote Yes/No are considered when determining a majority. Either way, that's kinda what common sense dictates. Otherwise, abstentions are "No" votes by default.
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Schmendrick54 Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. How do you interpret "...majority vote on the question...."?
Thanks for citing the specific text of the California Constitution, MoonGod. I agree with your statement that the alternative to only counting "Yes" or "No" ballots would be to treat abstentions as "No" votes by default. I am not so sure that "common sense" can be invoked here (or anywhere else with regard to this election, for that matter!)

It seems to me that a "plausible" interpretation of the language you cited would be that

IF 49% vote "Yes" on the recall,
48% vote "No" on the recall, and
3% of the otherwise valid ballots do not indicate a selection for the recall,

THEN it NOT the case that a "majority vote on the
question is to recall" and the proposition fails.

It seems to me that if the authors intended to not consider the blank ballots, they could have used the term plurality here (which they used later in this sentence.)

Of course, I think your interpretation is at least as plausible, but it doesn't seem cut-and-dried to me, and I am curious if this issue was considered in the legal rulings thus far.
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MoonGod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:30 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. Majority/Plurality...
The use of the term "majority" makes sense in that context because there's only 2 choices, meaning that unless unless the vote is perfectly evenly divided, one choice or the other will have a majority.

As far as the use of the term "plurality" later, that's because there are likely to be more than 2 candidates (like, say 135 :)) and none of them may get a majority.

While I don't think there have been any legal challenges on this basis, it appears to me that interpreting abstentions as "No" votes is wishful thinking at best.
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Schmendrick54 Donating Member (111 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Wishful thinking it is, then.
I agree that the most likely intention of the original authors is just as you say. If we consider there to be exactly two choices, then the term "majority" is unambiguous (and incidently, implies that a "tie" results in the governor keeping his job.)

Of course, if we consider "abstain" to be a third possibility, the argument seems less clear. In fact, the constitutional language specifically indicated that an abstention from the recall question would invalidate the vote for a replacement (although this particular requirement has been thrown out (presumably based on some other constitutional basis.) If abstaining on the Recall proposition cannot prevent my vote from counting in the replacement selection process, it seems like one COULD argue (wishfully perhaps) that my "abstention" in the recall should also count for determining the number of votes needed to obtain a majority. But as I said above, I think your interpretation is the more likely one.

While we are engaged in wishful thinking, I think I will wish for a solid majority for No on Recall, Yes on Bustamonte. Then maybe we can get back to helping Bush find the leaker and helping OJ find the killer.

I am now returning to lurk mode.

Best regards.
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newyawker99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:17 PM
Response to Reply #10
18. Hi Schmendrick54!!
Welcome to DU!! :toast:
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
3. It counts
This is the really the same issue that came up months ago, but at that time the discussion was whether the "No" voters should have their candidate vote counted. IIRC, a judge stepped in and stated that they're two separate ballot issues, so one can't depend on the other.

They lost their Yes/No vote, but their candidate vote still counts.
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wtmusic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. The vote doesn't count
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
6. If Yes > No the recall passes
Abstentions do not affect the outcome one way or another.

On your second question the answer is Yes. There is a provision in the state constitution that says such a vote would not count, but that got declared unconstitutional several weeks ago.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
7. Here is the answer and source
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 03:30 PM by LiberalFighter
11382. No vote cast in the recall election shall be counted for any candidate unless the voter also voted for or against the recall of the officer sought to be recalled.
http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=e...

But the courts ruled:
Portion Of Recall Law Ruled Unconstitutional
http://www.msnbc.com/local/KNBC/A1718000.asp
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NewYorkerfromMass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
11. OMG this is gonna be a mess if this is true:
yes/no is blank. Voter votes for replacement candidate.
No votes outnumber Yes by a margin smaller than total replacement votes.
Arnold has more votes than Cruz.
Set that court date.
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Perky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
12. Each Question stands on its own
Legally that is the way it works. A no vote on the recall DOES not invalidate a vote on the second question. (if it did there would be no reason for Cruz to run the campaign he did)

Constitutionally, it might get a bit more murky. One could raise the argument that if your opposed to the recall, you are effctively disenfranchised from expessing you choice (davis) on the second question.

Ergo. Davis's name ought to appear on the second question.
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NewYorkerfromMass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. It's not murky at all re: No and alternates
Davis supporters (NO's) needed an alternate in case he lost. The court addressed this issue specifically.
However, my question above scares me re: possible challenge by GrOP.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. Sorry, that would be a specious argument
If you want Davis to be governor you vote No on the recall. You get only one bite from that apple.
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Terwilliger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. no...it was spelled out early
you could vote either way on the first part and have your second-part vote still count.

In fact, you could skip the first question and just for a recall candidate...that would count too.
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