Recall FAQRecall and real democracy-the editors answer frequently asked questions
Compiled by editor Laura Wells
Q. What can we learn from the recall?
A. We can discover what works-and what doesn't- in our democracy. See box on this page, "Recipe for a Real Elections."
Q. What's in the October 7 election?
A. First, note that it is very important to vote in this election, so bring your neighbors, family, and friends (be sure they are properly registered prior to the September 22 deadline). There will be four items on the ballot. (1) Should Governor Davis be recalled, yes or no? (2) If Davis is recalled, who should replace him? There will be an unprecedented 135 candidates, and you can vote for the replacement no matter how you vote-or don't vote-in the first question. (3) Proposition 53, yes or no. (4) Proposition 54, yes or no. Please see below for Green Party endorsements.
Note: Many polling places have merged-check your sample ballot to verify where you vote. On the morning of October 7 long lines are likely, so consider voting absentee.
Q. What is the history?
A. The recall-and the initiative process-became law in California in 1911 as progressive era reforms. In the almost 100 years since, the recall for statewide elected office never succeeded until now. While intended as a people's recourse to bad government, in fact a single Republican multimillionaire spent well over $1 million to hire people to gather signatures.
Q. What if Davis resigns before October 7?
A. The ballot asks whether Gray Davis-not "the sitting governor"-should be recalled. If Davis resigns before October 7 and the recall passes, whichever replacement candidate gets the most votes, even if it is far from a majority, becomes governor. If Davis resigns and the recall fails, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (who would have become acting governor) would continue as governor. Note that if Davis had resigned before the election was certified in late July, then Bustamante would have become governor and this entire expensive special election would not have happened.
Q. What are the Green Party endorsements?
A. Prop. 54: Please vote "No!" For more detail, see page one, "Prop 54 is racist and dumb," by Howard Chong.
Prop. 53: "No on 53" is the position taken by some county Green Parties, but as we go to press, the position of the state party has not yet been determined.
Replacement governor. The state Green Party, in a polling of the local chapters around the state, has endorsed Peter Miguel Camejo. See page one for information in English and Spanish.
Recall Davis, yes or no? On this question, opinion is divided. Many Greens are against the recall, not because they like Gray Davis, but because through this tactic a radical right winger might become governor. Other Greens feel that Davis is so corrupt he deserves to be recalled.
Q. Republicans, Democrats, and Greens-what's the difference?
A. According to Larry Shoup, historian and 2002 candidate for Secretary of State, "There has been a growing falling out between the two major corporate-funded parties. Republicans are now driven by a radical rightist agenda-tax breaks for the already wealthy and cuts in social and economic gains of working people. The exception to these cuts is increased spending for repression (military/war/police/prisons/"homeland security"). Most Democratic leaders are conservative and have accepted many social welfare cuts and more spending for repression, but are under pressure from their rank and file supporters to spare some programs. The leading progressive force is now the Green Party, which is why we are growing rapidly. Greens are putting more and more pressure on Democrats not to backtrack even further; and Democrats are angry at Greens because we draw attention to their shortcomings and sell-outs and pull progressives (often activists) from their ranks."
Q. What should I do about my voter registration for the March 2004 primary?
A. Please see Kenny Mostern's "Dear Dennis Kucinich" on page one and Susan King's "Stay Green" on page three.
Q. How do I contact the Greens?
A. See www.cagreens.org. Call (916) 448-3437. Mail P.O. Box 2828, Sacramento, CA 95812.
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