California’s recall process creating a quagmire
It will be up to the voters of California to decide whether Gray Davis will stay or go. What’s clear, however, is the recall election there is creating a mess.
With more than 100 people in the field to become the next governor of California — if Davis is ousted — voters face a free-for-all that can hardly make for a wise choice on Oct. 7.
In the Golden State, it is absurdly easy to get on the ballot. Simply put up $3,500 and 65 signatures.
The fee apparently was an obstacle for some, as nearly 500 potential candidates took out applications but most failed to follow through. The alternative to paying the $3,500 was to obtain 10,000 signatures, which makes the whole process seem more mercenary than democratic.
Thankfully, Nevada has much more stringent requirements.
As outlined in an article on Page A1 of today’s Nevada Appeal, people wanting to recall elected officials in Nevada face a much steeper hill. While we’re generally in favor of putting power in people’s hands, there should be a significant barrier to yanking people from office — and Nevada has set that barrier appropriately high by requiring signatures of 25 percent of the number of voters in the last election.
Equally important is the high hurdle for candidates — also signatures from 25 percent of the voters.
As ineptly as Gray Davis has handled his state’s budget deficit and energy crises, Californians have set themselves up for an even deeper quagmire.
By electing someone to the governor’s office on the basis of a two-month campaign, voters there will be shooting in the dark. They will have had little or no chance to delve deeply into issues or philosophy. Call us old-fashioned, but that’s still how we think elections should be decided.
California needs to change its recall laws. Nevada, thank goodness, does not.