[UPDATED: Santa Cruz, CA, County Clerk/Registrar and Vice President of the CA Assoc. of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO) Gail Pellerin saw our article just after it went up, and wrote to both thank us for covering it, and to express her outrage over the Governor's decision here. She points us to a letter sent by clerks to his office earlier this week, and also notes that "Military voters are definitely disenfranchised" by this move. See the UPDATE at the end of this article for more comments and detail from Pellerin. - BF ]
[UPDATED AGAIN: Hispanic voters file federal complaint, charging violation of Voting Rights Act. Details at bottom of article - BF]
-- Guest blogged by Scott Dick
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is effectively disenfranchising at least 2,046 overseas California voters around the world, including military personnel stationed in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan by calling a special election for June 22, 2010.
Background: The Senate seat from California's Senate District 15 was recently vacated when Schwarzenegger's nominee, Abel Maldonado, was confirmed and sworn in as the new Lieutenant Governor. He was appointed as a replacement to the elected John Garamendi who was recently elected to the U.S. Congress in a special election filling the seat of Ellen Tauscher who had been appointed by the Obama administration to a post in the U.S. State Department.
Schwarzenegger set the date for the special election to fill Maldonado's Senate District 15 seat as June 22, 2010, virtually eliminating the ability of overseas voters to participate in the election.
While not directly violating the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE Act) signed into law October 28, 2009, he is most certainly violating it in spirit. The law was designed to ensure the rights of overseas civilians and deployed military personnel to participate in federal, state and local elections. For federal elections it requires ballots to be sent out 45 days prior to an election to allow the Department of Defense time to process those ballots. If a state requests a waiver they must do so 65 days before the election. The law was passed with a 45 day minimum requirement for a very good reason --- a reason that Schwarzenegger seems willing to ignore, unless he can be convinced to change the date of the election, and quickly...