As of Tuesday morning, the results of a vote on a tobacco tax hike ballot initiative from the June 5 election remained too close to call, according to state officials, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/19).
The California secretary of state's office said that the ballot initiative was losing by 17,534 votes, or about four-tenths of 1%.
As of Tuesday morning, just over 370,000 ballots across the state remained uncounted, officials said (Willon, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 6/19).
The state has until July 6 to report the final outcome (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/19).
Background on Proposition 29
Proposition 29 would increase California's tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack to raise funds for cancer research and smoking cessation programs.
It was written by the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association.
Supporters of Prop. 29 said the tax hike would generate about $600 million annually to fund research on smoking-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
They noted that it also could produce $179 million each year for tobacco cessation, prevention and enforcement initiatives.
Opponents said that funds raised by Prop. 29 would create a new bureaucracy and could be spent on out-of-state research.
The tobacco industry and its allies contributed about $42.6 million toward a campaign to defeat Prop. 29, while supporters of the tax hike proposal, led by a national health coalition, spent nearly $9 million to advocate for the ballot initiative (California Healthline, 6/8).
Analysis of Vote
Stan Glantz of UC-San Francisco's Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education said the chances of the Prop. 29 passing are "unlikely but not impossible."
Steve Weir -- the Contra Costa Registrar of Voters -- said that for the measure to pass 54% of the remaining ballots would have to favor the measure.
He also said that if the margin continues to tighten, California could hold its first statewide recount for a ballot measure (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/19).