By Jennifer Henion

Triplicate staff writer

So far, the California gubernatorial recall election has cost Del Norte County taxpayers about $25,000.

After Monday's federal court ruling, which postponed the election, it appears that money which the cash-strapped county did not have budgeted may have been spent for nothing. Also for naught could be all local preparations for the Oct. 7 recall vote as well as the 250 absentee ballots already cast by local voters.

andquot;It's a significant amount of money, but I haven't gotten the bill from the printer yet,andquot; Del Norte County Elections Clerk Vickie Frazier said yesterday.

andquot;It's all for naught, probably. We won't know anything until Sept. 22,andquot; Frazier said.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals suggested that the recall vote could be rescheduled for March 2, when California will conduct its presidential primary. However, an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court could still reinstate the Oct. 7 recall vote.

The court said Monday it is unacceptable that some counties would be using outdated punch-card ballots, the type that sparked the andquot;hanging chadsandquot; dispute in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

Del Norte County is one of the California counties that still relies on punch-card ballot technology.

Frazier said the change to new machines will not take place here before the March presidential primary.

andquot;It's in the works, but it won't happen before then,andquot; she said.

No count has been tallied on the absentee ballots already returned in Del Norte County, according to Frazier.

andquot;We can't start counting until 8 p.m., on election night,andquot; she said.