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California's new governor to take office in November

From Robert Yoon
CNN Political Unit

Gov. Gray Davis conceded less than two hours after the polls closed.
Gov. Gray Davis conceded less than two hours after the polls closed.

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California Recall
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Cruz Bustamante
Civil and Public Services

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The winner in Tuesday's California recall election, action movie hero Arnold Schwarzenegger, will likely assume the governor's office between Saturday, November 15 and Tuesday, November 25, replacing the recalled Gray Davis.

The results of the voting in the election will most likely not become official until Saturday, November 15. The election could be certified before that date, but it's unlikely, given the complexity of the ballot and vote count.

State elections code says the winning candidate must assume office within 10 days of the official vote certification, which is likely to be November 15. It is the winning candidate's prerogative to select the actual date, according to the secretary of state's office.

Here is a timeline of what happens now that the voting is over:

Absentee ballot processing

Counties were empowered to begin processing absentee ballots received in their office before Election Day. This means county officials can verify voters' signatures on the return envelope and remove the ballot from the envelope so that they are ready to count. Although processed before Election Day, "early absentee ballots" were not to be counted until after polls closed at 8 p.m. PDT (11 p.m. EDT).

'Semi-official' vote canvass

After polls close, all regular ballots cast at the polls and all absentee ballots processed by Election Day are counted. Provisional ballots -- those cast by voters at an incorrect polling site -- and absentee ballots received on Election Day will not be counted Election Day.

Official vote count

Counties must begin their official canvass by Thursday, October 9. The official canvass includes counting all of the votes cast at polling places, all absentee ballots received on Election Day, and all provision ballots. This process continues every work day for at least six hours per day and must be completed within 28 days, by November 4. Counties have one week to report results to the secretary of state.

Deadline for final state certification

The secretary of state compiles the results of 58 county canvasses and must certify the official vote within 4 days, by no later than November 15. At this time, the outcome of the election becomes official.

Swearing-in deadline

Now that the recall has passed, the replacement governor must be sworn in and assume office as governor by November 25, that is, within 10 days after the vote is certified.

With Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor:

• Bustamante will remain lieutenant governor.

• The Schwarzenegger agenda covering the candidate's top priorities for his first 100 days in office will kick in. It's called, "Let's Bring California Back: 100-Day Agenda to Turn California Around." As outlined by the campaign recently, it includes:

Step 1: Repeal Gray Davis' tripling of the car tax

Step 2: Freeze spending and launch an audit of the state budget

Step 3: Special legislative session to cut spending and fix deficit

Step 4: Renegotiate state's share of Indian gaming revenue

Step 5: Renegotiate state employee union contracts to get better deal for taxpayers

Step 6: Pass jobs package with workers' compensation reform

Step 7: Submit 2004-'05 budget that closes deficit and restructures inherited debt

Step 8: Streamline bureaucracy and send more money to the classroom

Step 9: Repeal law that gives allows undocumented immigrants to get driver's licenses

Step 10: Pass open government amendment and ban fundraising during budget process

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