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California Recall Election Postponed

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The California recall election has been postponed by a federal Appeals Court, which has ruled that the punchcard that state officials plan to require voters to use is illegal under the Supreme Court decision that determined that George W. Bush was president in 2000.

Specifically, the punchcards being used by six counties in the state, which make up 44 percent of the voters, are outdated and can result in the kinds of questionable votes that plagued the 2000 presidential election.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which earlier this year ruled that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because of its inclusion of the words "under God," issued the unanimous ruling but didn't set a new date for the election.

Backers of the recall election, originally scheduled for Octoer 7, 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.

At any rate, the fate of the election is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court, which might accept the case if it is appealed. What it means in the meantime is that the candidates will have a bit more time to brush up their images and their messages. The election might be moved to next March, at the same time as the presidential election. (Davis was elected in 2002; his term expires in 2006, and he cannot run for re-election.)