California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) will not be able to label himself a Democrat on the recall ballot this September after his team made a filing error and omitted his party preference.
Newsom sued the California Secretary of State to let his team fix the error late last month.
Judge James P. Arguelles on Monday denied Newsom’s request to let his team make the correction after hearing arguments on Friday.
“Governor Newsom argues that unique circumstances attending his untimely party designation support an order excusing the noncompliance,” Arguelles wrote, but “the court is not persuaded.”
Newsom’s team had scrambled to correct an error that will now deprive him of his party preference on ballots for the Sept. 14 recall. Newsom sued Secretary of State Shirley Weber in late June, arguing that the law imposes a needlessly early deadline for recall targets to request their party designation and that voters deserve to see that information.
After hearing arguments Friday, however, Judge James P. Arguelles ruled late Monday against Newsom. Arguelles had already played an instrumental role in the recall by granting proponents four additional months to gather signatures — an extension that ultimately coincided with the worst months of the pandemic in California.
Arguelles disagreed with an argument from Newsom’s attorney that party status was a vital piece of information for voters, writing that the law offered candidates “discretion to inform recall voters about their party preferences, as opposed to imposing a requirement that voters be so informed.” Arguelles rejected the notion a “good faith error” on Newsom’s part should spare him.
Up until 2019 elected officials being recalled in California didn’t have the opportunity to list their party ID on the ballot.
However, Newsom changed that law but his team forgot to list his party preference when they responded to the recall effort in 2020.
Attorneys for recall proponents trolled Newsom and said his filing error is a bitter pill for the governor to swallow.
“At base this comes down to whether the governor of California has to follow the unambiguous law, and it just so happens a law he signed,” recall proponents’ attorney Eric Early argued on Friday. “This may be a bitter pill for the governor to swallow, but swallow it he must.”
The recall election will take place on September 14, 2021.