A judge just ruled that Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) cannot put his party affiliation on the ballot for the upcoming September recall election.
It’s happening. On September 14, the state of California will hold a recall election that will determine whether or not Gavin Newsom (D) will keep his role as governor. Unfortunately for him, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge James Arguelles recently ruled that Newsom cannot put his Democratic Party affiliation on the ballot voters see when they vote.
It turns out, Newsom’s campaign missed the deadline to “submit his affiliation to California Secretary of State Shirley Weber.” Before the judge’s decision, Newsom’s campaign said the issue was “inadvertent and asked Weber, who was appointed by Newsom, to allow the affiliation to appear.” Weber replied that the matter would have to go before a judge, which prompted Newsom to file a lawsuit. That suit drew criticism from his Republican opponents who said he was trying “to change rules everyone else must follow.”
During an hour-long hearing on Friday, Weber and Newsom’s elections attorney argued that Newsom simply missed an “arbitrary, harmless filing deadline and that it is in the voters’ interest to know his party preference.” Weber added, “that information now wouldn’t cause a procedural problem because elections officials still have enough time to ensure Newsom’s party preference appears on the ballot along with those seeking to replace him.”
Attorney Eric Early countered back and said, “At base, this comes down to whether the governor of California has to follow the unambiguous law — and it just so happens, a law that he signed. Early is representing the recall supporters, including “lead proponents Orrin Heatlie and Mike Netter and the California Patriot Coalition.”
In his decision Monday, Judge Arguelles said the matter came down to “whether there are reasons to look beyond the Newsom-approved law that required the governor to submit his party affiliation to the state’s top election official by February 2020.” In the end, he determined that the law “unambiguously precludes party information from appearing on a recall ballot where the elected officer fails timely to make the designation.”
It’s important to note that it is not yet clear whether the lack of party designation will have any real impact, especially since Newsom is well known and has “held statewide office for a decade first as lieutenant governor and now as governor.” He was also the mayor of San Francisco for six years.
When commenting on the judge’s ruling, Early said, “He followed the law, and that’s all we can ask for. No one is above the law, and this ruling makes clear that includes Gavin Newsom.”
The election will take place on September 14. However, the two-part ballots will be mailed to voters early. On the ballots, voters will be asked “if they want to remove Newsom from office and, if so, who should replace him.”