Former Assembly Speaker John Perez filed an official request with the Secretary of State to recount the results of the primary election for state controller, starting with Kern County and proceeding through 14 other counties — including Los Angeles. "Never in California history has the vote difference between two candidates for statewide office been so narrow, 481 votes or 1/100th of one percent, out of more than four million ballots cast," Perez wrote. "It is therefore of the utmost importance that an additional, carefully conducted review of the ballots be undertaken to ensure that every vote is counted, as intended." All 58 counties have completed their initial vote count and the tally has Perez trailing Betty Yee, a member of the state Board of Equalization, for the last spot in the November general election. Perez had been weighing his chances of succeeding in a recount and whether the cost, as much as $3 million, was worth it. His political fund has to pay the cost of each county's recount.
His letter asks for a manual recount of votes in priority precincts, as well as a review of ballots that were damaged or not counted for any other reason. From political reporter nd blogger John Myers at KQED:
Parke Skelton, the top campaign consultant to Betty Yee, called the decision by Pérez one that could drag the process out for months — suggesting Yee may also ask for a second look.
“No recount is going to be fair that doesn’t include more counties,” said Skelton by phone Sunday afternoon.
Unlike other states, there’s no automatic recount provision in California law. Any member of the public, including a candidate, can request a recount within five days of the final canvass of votes… provided he or she pay for it. The decision by Pérez comes right at the final deadline for a request, with Secretary of State Debra Bowen poised to formally certify the state’s June primary results in a matter of days.
The state’s recount provisions are relatively loose, in that the choice of which votes to tally a second time are chosen by the person who’s paying — individual precincts to entire counties are all subject to recount if someone has the money and inclination.
A campaign advisor to Pérez says the 481 gap between the two prominent Democrats is within the “statistical margin of error” for the machines that tally paper ballots.
Whichever Democrat does win the recount will face Republican Ashley Swearengin, the mayor of Fresno, in November.