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Write-Ins Joining Candidates' Ranks

September 24, 2003|Allison Hoffman | Times Staff Writer

As county registrars around the state began processing a surge of last-minute voter registrations, state officials said Tuesday that at least 20 people had submitted signatures to run in the recall election as write-in candidates.

Most of the write-in candidates are from Los Angeles County. Officials suggested that the final write-in candidate count could be as high as 30. The final list will be available today.

In order to be a write-in candidate, a person must collect 65 signatures, be a U.S. citizen and be eligible to vote. There is no filing fee. The names of all certified write-ins will be posted at all polling places.

Some of the write-ins tried to get on the printed ballot in August but didn't qualify because they either failed to collect the 65 needed signatures or didn't pay the $3,500 filing fee.

One write-in is Mathilda Spak, a 101-year-old candidate from Long Beach whose run is being sponsored by the 99 Cents Only Stores.

"They just called me two days ago," Spak said, adding that she had already started campaigning. "They may think I'm harmless, but I'm not. I'm a fighter."

In addition, county officials reported a flood of last-minute voter registrations on Monday's deadline.

"We're usually lucky if we get 1,000 registrations just before the deadline," said Angela Burrell, an election official in Orange County, where 5,000 registrations came in Monday.

In Los Angeles and San Diego counties, the registrars' offices were open until midnight, and officials reported that thousands of people turned up after hours to get their names on the voter rolls.

San Diego County received nearly 11,000 registration cards on Monday, bumping the total who have registered since the election was certified to nearly 53,000.

That is still fewer than the number registered before the 2000 presidential election, but outpaced the 43,000 who signed up before last year's gubernatorial race.

In Los Angeles County, almost 22,000 people registered over the weekend. That was 50% more than the 14,000 who signed up the last weekend before last year's election.

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