Newsom sues elections chief to call himself a Democrat on recall ballot

California Governor Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Newsom sues elections chief to call himself a Democrat on recall ballotSACRAMENTO Gov. Gavin Newsom is challenging his appointed elections chief in order to get two words next his name on recall ballot: Democratic PartyAccording to Courthouse News, the governor and his staff failed to file paperwork last year that would have allowed them to choose his party preference for recall ballots. This apparent error means that Newsom will appear on the recall ballot with no party designation while many challengers will have their party preferences.Monday's lawsuit was filed by Newsom against Secretary of State Shirley Weber at Sacramento Superior Court. The suit sought to place his party preference on Tuesday's ballot. It was based on the Courthouse News document. Weber was nominated by the Democratic governor to replace Alex Padilla who Newsom had named to the U.S. Senate.Weber, a former Democratic Assemblymember, was elected to office in January. He is currently responsible for certifying the recall elections.As California's gubernatorial recall draws closer, the possibility of an election in September makes it a legal challenge. Weber confirmed last week that the proponents had received more than enough signatures for the contest to be qualified. However, there are still several ministerial steps before the date can be confirmed. Weber's office didn't immediately respond to a request Monday night for comment.Olson Remcho LLP, a long-standing Democratic Party election law firm, argued that the time limit was unnecessary and that there is still plenty of time to add the governor's party preference to the paperwork, given that the recall election has yet to be certified. Newsom was required to file his party preference and response to the successful recall petition he filed in February 2020 within seven days.Another twist is that Newsom not only appointed the election chief who would block his party designation on the poll, but also signed the legislation whose timeline he disagrees with.Prior to 2020, recall-threatened officers did not have the option of having their party designation appear on the California ballot. This was a problem that Sen. Tom Umberg (D–Santa Ana), saw as a problem. To allow recall-threatened officials to add their party, the Democratic lawmaker introduced Senate Bill 151 in 2019.According to a Senate bill analysis, Umberg claimed that candidates who want to succeed an elected official in recall elections can have a ballot designation. Umberg also claimed that "By providing additional information on the ballot, voters can make an informed decision when deciding whether to retain or remove an individual."Before Newsom signed the proposal, the Assembly passed it on a 77-0 vote. The Senate followed with a 38-0 vote.According to the governor's suit, the bill tied the party preference deadline with an existing response timeline because of convenience for the officeholder and not concern for election efficiency. This suggests that Newsom is being unfairly penalized by having to file his party preferences 16 months ahead of the election, while challengers can do so 59 days prior.The suit states that "To apply this deadline here would also result in absurd results." "The voters would be denied the information that the Legislature considers important, all because the Governor’s counsel inadvertently failed file a forma about the Governor’s ballot designation at minimum sixteen months before the recall election was called, and well before it became apparent that the recall would even be eligible for the ballot."