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The State | THE RECALL CAMPAIGN

Final Candidate Count Is to Be Announced Today

More than 130 have qualified for the ballot so far, with dozens still to be checked.

August 13, 2003|Joel Rubin and Allison Hoffman | Times Staff Writers

With California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley scheduled to certify a final list of candidates for the recall election today, confusion continued over how many candidates will appear on the Oct. 7 ballot.

Shelley's office announced Tuesday that its list of prospective candidates had swelled to 247. But that widely reported number is deceptive, according to county registrars around the state, who actually handle the candidate filings.

"People see big numbers and those become the headlines," said Gail Pellerin, Santa Cruz County's election manager.

Registrars have been compiling their own list that indicates that the number of candidates will be closer to 145.

As of Tuesday, Shelley's staff had determined that 131 Californians had qualified to run for governor. Seventy-six others had been disqualified for incomplete paperwork -- more than a dozen of whom had paid the nonrefundable $3,500 filing fee. The tally leaves 40 people that state election officials must check before today's deadline.

Of that total of 171 people who could theoretically appear on the ballot, some -- including California's Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi and former congressman Michael Huffington -- had taken out filing papers but decided not to run and never completed their paperwork. Their names will not appear on the ballot.

The secretary of state's count includes anyone who had submitted at least one of the several documents required to run for governor. By contrast, the shorter list compiled by county registrars includes only those who filed all of the required documents.

As of Tuesday, counties were reviewing the filings of 17 remaining gubernatorial hopefuls, compared with the 40 filings being reviewed by the state. Pellerin explained that the difference is partly because counties have already dropped people who failed to collect the required number of nomination signatures.

"A lot of people only got 20 of their friends to sign for them and then said, 'Forget about this,' " Pellerin said.

The complete ballot will be certified this afternoon by Shelley, after he reviews the final lists from all 58 counties.

"These numbers are under a microscope," Pellerin said. "Everyone is watching and scrutinizing them."

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