Secretary of State Kevin Shelley made it official Friday: Action movie hero Arnold Schwarzenegger won the Oct. 7 recall election and can take the oath of office for his new role as governor of California.
Shelley's staff canvassed vote results from all 58 counties, then the secretary certified the election in a brief ceremony in his Capitol office with a few photographers looking on.
"This certification brings closure to an election that garnered worldwide attention, and resulted in record voter registration and absentee ballot application requests," Shelley said.
The secretary said 15.4 million Californians registered and more than 61% cast ballots -- 1.6 million more than in the November 2002 election of Gov. Gray Davis. He called the recall vote the highest turnout since the gubernatorial election of 1982, when George Deukmejian was elected governor.
"However you voted in this election," Shelley said at a news conference after the signing, "voter participation won out."
He said the vote in the March 2 presidential primary probably will show whether the high voter and public interest generated by the historic recall will be sustained. Shelley said "there were no major glitches" in checking the results.
He said a copy of his official certification was hand-delivered to the Schwarzenegger transition team Friday morning.
Under the state Constitution, Schwarzenegger could be sworn in anytime after Shelley's declaration. But the secretary said the governor-elect has scheduled the ceremony for Monday. Until then, Davis remains governor.
In response to a question, Shelley said nothing in the state Constitution prevents Davis from running again, since he did not complete a second term, but added, "I suspect he is not considering that."
The recall passed with 4,976,193 votes, or 55.4% of ballots cast.
Schwarzenegger led the replacement candidates with 4,206,217 votes, or 48.6%, while Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante came in second, attracting 2,724,852, or 31.5%.