By the way, my polling place is the same as always.
Here is the AP Report this morning via The Dallas Morning News ...
California voters' choice: Change or familiarity
08:20 AM CDT on Tuesday, October 7, 2003
LOS ANGELES - The scramble to determine who will lead California went down to the wire as actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger denied last-minute sexual harassment allegations and Gov. Gray Davis pleaded with citizens to give him another chance.
Voters were asked Tuesday to choose the ending of a saga that has captivated the nation for months: whether Davis becomes the nation's second governor to be recalled, and if so, who among a field of 135 candidates should replace him.
Recent polls suggested that a majority of voters favored dumping the governor -- who was elected to office less than a year ago -- while Schwarzenegger emerged as the leading replacement candidate.
Complete coverage Texas Talkback: Who do you think will be the next governor of California?
The chaotic gubernatorial campaign, which survived a handful of legal challenges after a Republican-led effort brought it to the ballot, was without parallel in the Golden State. The unpopular governor was blamed for myriad problems and an action hero grabbed much of the spotlight from candidates that included a porn marketer, a sumo wrestler, a stripper and two experienced politicians.
Lt. Gov Cruz Bustamante, the only prominent Democrat on the ballot, and Republican Sen. Tom McClintock remained the only other candidates polling in double digits. But their campaigns were eclipsed in recent weeks by the target of the recall and the former Mr. Universe.
On the ballot
The first question asks whether Gov. Gray Davis should be recalled. The second question lists 135 candidates to succeed him if he is recalled.
Polls close at 10 p.m. Dallas time. If the race is close, it might not be called until Wednesday or later up to 39 days later.
A new governor would take office as soon as results are certified.
Questions and answers about Tuesday's election to recall the governor in California:
Q: How long has Gray Davis been governor of California?
A: Previously the state's lieutenant governor, he became governor in 1999. He was elected to a second four-year term last year.
Q: Can those who vote against the recall still vote for a replacement?
A: Yes. They may vote for a replacement candidate or write in anyone's name. There are also 28 official write-in candidates.
Q: Are all 135 replacement candidates still in the race?
A: Four have dropped out, including independent Arianna Huffington and Republicans Peter Ueberroth and Bill Simon.
Q: How much will the election cost?
A: The current estimate is $66 million.
Q: Can voters who cast absentee ballots get the ballot back and vote again Tuesday if they changed their minds?
A: No. Once a ballot has arrived at a county election office, it's an officially cast ballot.
Q: How many versions of the ballot are there?
A: There are 80 versions, one for each of the state's assembly districts. The candidates' names are rotated to counter the estimated 5 percent advantage a candidate gets from being at the top of the ballot. The names are in random order.
Q: What is the party registration breakdown for this election?
A: Democrats are 43.6 percent, Republicans are 35.3 percent and those declining to state a preference are 16 percent. The American Independent Party is 2 percent and the Green Party is 1 percent.
Q: What happens if the race is too close to call Tuesday night?
A: County elections officials will begin a routine procedure called canvassing, in which they count an estimated 1 million absentee ballots that came in on election day, write-in ballots and provisional ballots used by voters who didn't vote at their assigned precincts. Most of these votes will not be counted on election night. Counties have until Nov. 5 to complete their count. Secretary of State Kevin Shelley must certify the results by Nov. 15.
Q: Could a Florida-style recount battle happen in California?
A: If the tally is close, some legal experts expect litigation similar to that surrounding the 2000 presidential election. That litigation was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Schwarzenegger's poll numbers got a bounce after a lively Sept. 24 debate that brought together all the top candidates for the first and only time. Although the questions had been made available to the candidates before the forum, analysts said Schwarzenegger accomplished what he needed to by appearing confident and in command of issues.
With allegations dogging him that he had groped and sexually harassed as many as 16 women over the last three decades, Schwarzenegger on Monday marshaled the support of his wife, Maria Shriver, and mother-in-law, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and surrounded himself with women-friendly messages.
Scores of female supporters stood behind him at events, holding signs proclaiming "Remarkable Women Join Arnold." As he took the stage at one event, the actor smiled broadly and said, "To all the incredible women, thank you."
Davis reached out to his core of labor support, marching in San Francisco with hundreds of firefighters, mostly clad in blue "No Recall" T-shirts. Many in the crowd were out-of-state residents attending a safety conference.
"If you give me the chance to finish my term, I will do it with all the passion, all the humanity I can muster because my goal is to make your life better," Davis told the crowd chanting "No recall! No Recall!"
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters, roused the crowd with a throaty plea to keep California from electing "a musclebound knucklehead who doesn't know a thing about running a state."
At a campaign appearance in East Los Angeles, Bustamante, who once led among replacement candidates in independent polls, said his internal polls showed him closing on Schwarzenegger. "Frankly, there's a lot of people who feel he's not fit to be the governor," Bustamante said.
Looming over the day's events were the allegations, including more from a woman who came forward Monday, that Schwarzenegger groped the women and sometimes made crude comments during encounters dating from 1970 to 2000.
Schwarzenegger released a statement denying the latest accusation, while McClintock and Bustamante said the allegations were helping their campaigns.
McClintock, who has rejected GOP pressure to drop out of the race, said he was skeptical of the 11th hour complaints. But he also indicated the allegations were boosting his standing among voters.
"People are saying 'Thank God you stayed in the race,"' McClintock told MSNBC-TV.
Schwarzenegger continued to hammer away at Davis, telling supporters in San Jose that he falls among a class of politicians who only know how to "spend, spend, spend" and "tax, tax tax."
The latest woman to come forward, Rhonda Miller of Los Angeles, said Schwarzenegger lifted her shirt to photograph her breasts and groped her twice, when she worked as a stunt double on the film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" in 1991 and in 1994 on the set of "True Lies."
Schwarzenegger did not mention the allegations at campaign stops, but in a statement, he denied Miller's claims while admitting making crude comments about photographs of staff members posted in a trailer during the filming of "Terminator 2."
"If my crude comments offended anyone, I apologize. And as I have stated a number of times in this campaign, I have occasionally engaged in rowdy behavior. With regards to all of the other comments that were made by Ms. Miller, they did not occur," the statement said.
Davis' popularity plunged following the downturn in the economy and the burst of the high-tech bubble in particular. Californians face an $8 billion state budget deficit, persistent unemployment and struggling schools.
In addition to the recall, two ballot measures also were to be decided: Proposition 53 would steer 1 percent of the state annual budget to fix California's roads, bridges and sewage plants, and Proposition 54, which would ban the state from using race, ethnicity or national origin to classify people in public education, contracting and employment.
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