Supporters of Proposition 29, a tobacco tax hike initiative, have requested a recount of certain Los Angeles County ballots, the Sacramento Bee reports.
On June 22, the Proposition 29 campaign conceded defeat in the June 5 primary, saying the gap in votes was too large to overcome.
According to unofficial results posted by the secretary of state's office, the tobacco tax hike initiative is losing 50.3% to 49.7% -- a gap of 29,565 votes out of more than five million cast statewide (Van Oot, Sacramento Bee, 7/13).
About Proposition 29
Prop. 29 would have increased California's tax on cigarettes by $1 per pack to raise funds for cancer research and smoking cessation programs.
Supporters of Prop. 29 said the tax hike would have generated about $600 million annually to fund research on smoking-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and stroke.
They noted that it also could have produced $179 million each year for tobacco cessation, prevention and enforcement initiatives.
Opponents said that funds raised by Prop. 29 would have created a new bureaucracy and could have been spent on out-of-state research (California Healthline, 6/25).
Details of the Request
John Maa filed the recount request on Monday -- the deadline for making such a request.
A physician by that name -- who is a member of the American Heart Association's Western States Affiliate -- was featured in a press release by the campaign supporting Prop. 29. However, the filer's attorney was not available for comment.
Tim Douglas -- a spokesperson for the formal "Yes on 29" campaign supporting the tax -- in an email said that "no one with any official connection to the campaign made such a request."
Dean Logan -- Los Angeles County registrar-recorder and county clerk -- said that supporters of Prop. 29 requested a recount of 191 precincts in Los Angeles County.
The selected precincts represent about 48,000 of the 900,000 votes cast for and against the initiative in Los Angeles County. Supporters can request additional precinct recounts or stop the process at any time, Logan said.
How the Recount Will Work
Logan said that officials will begin the recount on Monday with an electronic ballot tally before starting a manual count later in the week. The process could take more than a week at a cost of about $5,700 per day, Logan said.
The supporters who requested the recount must provide funding for the process, but taxpayers will cover the final tab if the recount changes the outcome of the election (Sacramento Bee, 7/13).