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State Seeks 2-Day Election Recess in Simpson Trial

August 09, 1994| From Times Staff and Wire Reports

SACRAMENTO — The state's election officer asked a judge Monday to recess the O.J. Simpson murder trial on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 so the televised proceedings won't keep California voters from the polls.

Acting Secretary of State Tony Miller--who is a candidate himself--said he is worried that the trial, set to begin Sept. 19, will divert media and public attention from the Nov. 8 election and reduce voter turnout.

In a letter to Superior Court Judge Lance A. Ito, Miller said a recess on Election Day and the day before would be "extraordinarily helpful in terms of promoting the democratic process."

"These final days are critical in terms of elections administration as well as to voters who often delay until the last moment reaching decisions which will have an impact on all of us for decades," Miller wrote.

Candidates for statewide offices, including governor and U.S. senator, and hundreds of congressional, legislative and local offices, are on the Nov. 8 ballot. Miller, a Democrat, is running against Republican Assemblyman Bill Jones of Fresno for secretary of state. Miller has been acting secretary since being appointed by the former holder of the office, March Fong Eu, who retired to become an ambassador.

Also before voters are initiatives to limit illegal immigration, establish a single-payer health plan and weaken statewide anti-smoking standards.

A Los Angeles Superior Court spokeswoman had no comment on Miller's request.

Simpson, 47, faces two murder charges in the June 12 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson, 35, and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman, 25, outside her Brentwood condominium.

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