The Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters will be in court Tuesday, accused by a grassroots political action committee of refusing to conduct a thorough recount of Measure A in Long Beach.
The measure called for extending indefinitely the 1% percent sales tax increase approved by Long Beach voters in 2016. It passed by just 16 votes out of about 100,000 ballots cast.
The Long Beach Reform Coalition called on Registrar of Voters Dean Logan to initiate a recount and claimed that Logan upped the price of conducting a recall from the published price because the ballots would have to be found in the new Voter System, which no longer kept Long Beach votes together, the coalition said in a statement.
A deposit for a manual recount of votes is between $4,136 and $10,854 and includes labor, equipment, material and personnel, according to the Registrar’s website, which adds if a computer or machine recount is requested, costs will vary.
The coalition protested that the higher price was not published and alleged Logan’s team gave them a “take it or leave it” offer.
Under written protest, the coalition opted for an electronic review, as opposed to a manual review which would require the coalition to pay for days of Registrar office workers to go through all vote center boxes in the county to find ballots from Long Beach.
The Registrar’s office then told the coalition it would still have to pay for the set-up of the electronic system to retrieve the ballots because the new system had no way to retrieve ballots for a recount, the LBRC alleged.
On April 8, the first day of the recount, the LBRC claimed Logan’s team said the coalition had to first provide the money in order for the Registrar’s office to come up with a way to retrieve ballots to conduct the recount. An initial deposit was given, but no ballots were counted, the LBRC said.
The following day, April 9, the coalition requested 40 people be made available to count ballots, but the Registrar’s office provided only eight, four of which were only available after 2:30 p.m, and a total of just over 1,000 ballots were counted, the LBRC said.
The coalition claimed under the previous voting system, four people could recount an average of 6,500 ballots a day.
The LBRC also challenged 50 rejected, but not counted, votes-by-mail and provisional ballots on Thursday, all of which Logan had not ruled on as of Monday.
A second request for 40 workers to count ballots was made on Friday and the Registrar’s office provided 16 ballot counters, and about 6,700 ballots were counted, the coalition said.
At the current recount rate, it would take more than two weeks to conduct the recount and cost more than $100,000, according to the LBRC.
The coalition also asserted that during the two days of the recount, enough ballots were found that would change the final vote count.
On Monday, the LBRC presented a check for $10,854 for 32 ballot counters to conduct a physical count. The amount corresponded with the deposit amount for a recount listed on the Registrar’s website.
The coalition was informed five hours after it arrived that Los Angeles County attorneys had rejected the coalition’s check for physical counters, leading the LBRC to file a lawsuit later Tuesday morning against the Registrar’s office.
There was no immediately comment from the Registrar’s office.
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