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THE NOONER for July 7, 2014

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CONTROLLER: Yesterday, John A. Pérez requested a recount of selected precincts in 15 counties for the office of Controller in his quest to find 481 votes to catch up to Betty Yee for the second spot in November's race for state controller. Here are the counties that include precincts in which a recount was requested:

1. Kern - 389 precincts
2. Imperial - all precincts
3. San Bernardino - 495 precincts
4. Fresno - 212 precincts
5. San Mateo - 247 precincts
6. Orange - 516 precincts
7. Ventura - 297 precincts
8. Los Angeles - 700 precincts
9. Riverside - 366 precincts
10. Stanislaus - 221 precincts
11. Tulare - 109 precincts
12. Napa - 117 precincts
13. Kings - 98 precincts
14. Lake - 51 precincts
15. Merced - all precincts

[h/t Orange Juice Blog]

The counties are in sequential order, although his campaign requested that Kern and Imperial begin simultaneously. Beyond that, each county would begin after the next and must follow the order of precincts specified in the letter. The campaign could call it off at any time, either because they pull ahead or because the effort looks futile. If the recount of selected precincts within a county changes the result, all ballots in the county must be retabulated.

John Myers writes

The letter Pérez submitted Sunday afternoon makes clear that the requested recount will go in a specific order, a likely hint that the second tally of votes can stop at any time Pérez wants. It’s beginning in places where his vote tally was decidedly higher than that of Yee. A campaign consultant says the cost of the recount will depend on whether votes are re-examined with machines or by hand. The campaign also seeks to take a second look at some vote-by-mail ballots that were disqualified, to see if any of those should be added to the total. 

Now Yee needs to decide how much defense versus offense to play. She will certainly dispatch watchers to Kern and Imperial, but should she go on an offensive hunt for uncounted votes for her in her best counties? Those are San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Marin and Monterey, although a county like Sacramento and Alameda could be more attractive with a focus on certain precincts. [county list by margins]

It's an expensive process, and the campaigns have to pay for it out of their primary election accounts. Thus, if a donor maxed out in the primary ($6,800), they can't contribute more to cover the cost of a recount, which the FPPC has determined is an "integral" part of the primary election. Of course, a Yee supporter could create an independent campaign for recounts and spend an unlimited amount, so long as their is no coordination with the campaign. (However, if the fight ends up in court, it appears a separate "legal defense fund" could be created by candidates. Such funds have no contribution limits, but funds raised are limited to those reasonably needed for the subject legal action.)

While a lot of news stories portray Pérez with significant cash on hand, that's based on the $1.8 million he had as of May 17 and $240k raised after that. Clearly he has more on hand for a recount than Yee, but he was also in heavy teevee circulation the last couple of weeks of the campaign.

The process shows the odd legal parameters for recounts in California, and provides a significant leg up to a well financed candidate. Any voter can request a recount, and can pick and choose which precincts to count, based on where they think their candidate did the best and by looking at such things as undervotes and rejected ballots. However, as Lesli Gooch in CA31 learned, it's expensive ($6,000 for one day), and Perez will look closely at the Kern and Imperial County results before proceeding too far.

Election law expert Rick Hasen writes "Shades of Bush v. Gore as Perez seeks to cherry-pick counties for a recount. We wouldn't need this if California had an automatic recount law for such close races."

#AGREED - the state should pay for a full recount for any state legislative or constitutional race with a margin of less than 1%. Otherwise, lower funded candidate's due process rights are being violated.

Here's an awesome database of recount laws by state, provided by Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota.

 

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SD26 (Coastal Los Angeles): Does Hobby Lobby give Sandra Fluke an even greater national fundraising platform and advantage in the November race against Ben Allen? Fluke is already raising money using the issue on the DCCC website.

INTERESTING READS:

#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Ryan Alba and Jeff Klein!

FAREWELL: Former Assemblymember Ira Ruskin (1943-2014).

 


 

**CLASSIFIEDS**

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  • Kidsdata.org Webinar: How To Put Legislative District Data To Work For California Children
    Learn how to use legislative district data and maps on kidsdata.org, a free, nonpartisan website tracking more than 500 measures of child health and well-being.
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  • Capitol Weekly Top 100 Party
    Tuesday, August 19, 5:30 PM  – 8:30 PM
    The Senator Hotel, 1121 L Street, Sacramento
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