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Newsom sues to get ‘Democrat’ next to name on recall ballot

California residents have mounted 179 recall attempts of state elected officials, but only 10 have collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Updated: June 29, 2021 - 11:11pm

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Unless he can persuade a judge to force the change, California Gov. Gavin Newsom will not have any indication he’s a member of the state’s majority political party on a special election for his position.

Newsom filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Shirley Weber in Sacramento County Superior Court, saying she needs to fix what amounts to a “good faith mistake” from his campaign in entering his candidacy information without party preference.

The first-term Democrat is months away from a recall election brought partly in reaction to his strict enforcement of executive orders to slow the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw more than 3.8 million Californians infected and is attributed to more than 63,000 deaths.

California residents have mounted 179 recall attempts of state elected officials, but only 10 have collected enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Of those, six officials have been recalled. Former Gov. Gray Davis was successfully recalled in 2003 and succeeded by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Davis wasn’t able to add his party preference to the ballot.

It’s not certain when the election will happen, but Weber announced last week that the effort’s supporters had enough certified signatures to trigger the event.

Newsom nominated Weber to her post after placing former Secretary of State Alex Padilla in the U.S. Senate seat vacated by now-Vice President Kamala Harris.

In the lawsuit, first reported by Courthouse News, Newsom’s attorneys said keeping his affiliated political party off his name is unfair treatment, since his competitors have much more time to file and list their party affiliation. It also admits to the mistake of one of Newsom’s lawyers.

“The voters would be deprived of the very information the Legislature has deemed important for them to receive, all because the governor’s counsel inadvertently failed to file a form about the governor’s ballot designation at least 16 months before the recall election has been called,” it said.

Party affiliations were not listed on elections for officials facing recalls until Newsom signed a change into law that would allow voters to know who the candidates are aligned with.