Two high-profile Republican candidates for governor in the state's upcoming recall election – talk show host Larry Elder and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer – have each filed lawsuits over different decisions made by California's top election official, Secretary of State Shirley Weber.
It's par for the course that candidates and campaigns file lawsuits against state officials in hopes of affecting how they or their issues are described in the election guide sent to every voter. But the high stakes and compressed calendar leading up to the Sept. 14 recall election are triggering a number of pivotal lawsuits with little time to spare.
In Faulconer's case, he's suing over Weber's rejection of his preferred three-word ballot description next to his name: "Retired San Diego Mayor." (City names count as one word).
In a letter to Faulconer, an attorney in Weber's office wrote that "it is our understanding that you were unable to run for another term due to terms limits. As such you did not voluntarily retire, thus making your proposed ballot designation unacceptable."
"Candidacies really live and die on those three words of what's on the ballot," said elections law expert Jessica Levinson from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.