Those provisions require federal review for any proposed change in Monterey elections, said Linda Tulett, the county's registrar of voters. Everything from unscheduled dates to changes in polling places or voting machines must first be OKd by the Department of Justice.

The DOJ has 60 days to review those changes. But the election was called by Schwarzenegger less than 60 days after his proclamation.

"We've been communicating these barriers with the administration from the get-go," Tulett said. "Letters were written, phone calls were made. We had a letter going out that day saying please don't do this."

Tulett said she has already missed federal mail deadlines to get ballots to overseas and military voters.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the administration is reviewing the case, but had not yet been served with papers by the plaintiffs.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento