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California Recall Election Back On

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The California recall election is back on schedule, set once again for October 7.

The election had been postponed by a federal Appeals Court, which had ruled that the punchcard that state officials plan to require voters to use was illegal under the Supreme Court decision that determined that George W. Bush was president in 2000. California is not the only state that has counties using punchcards. About 15 percent of voting precincts nationwide still used the punchcards that were such trouble in Florida in 2000. But California officials promise that they will make every effort to make sure that the "chad" problem of the 2000 presidential election does not happen in California.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed its earlier decision, saying that the election was, in effect, already taking place. About 700,000 absentee ballots have already been received, and election materials have already been mailed out to prospective voters. The state of California has already spent $50 million on the election.

Backers of the recall election blame California Gov. Gray Davis for the state's economic troubles. Davis is suffering one of the state's all-time low approval levels. Among those running against Davis in the race are Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, who would be the state's first Latino governor, and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Polls continue to show that Schwarzenegger would win if a majority of people vote to kick Davis out. Davis, however, has built up strength in recent weeks, and polls now show that the vote to oust him might be close to 50-50.

Davis was elected in 2002; his term expires in 2006, and he cannot run for re-election.