A recount of the Nov. 8 election results might take place for at least three jurisdictions in Alameda County following a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors and the county may pay for it.
The special meeting Jan. 5 was held following an error by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters that caused the candidate with the most votes in one election to lose. Oakland Unified School District board candidate Mike Hutchinson lost the District 4 school board race because of the error in counting votes in a ranked-choice voting system.
The board will take up the recount proposal by its president Keith Carson at its regular meeting this Tuesday. The proposal also invites observers to watch the recount, something that is already codified in law.
Carson also suggested in the proposal creating an Alameda County Elections Oversight Committee, which could educate voters and serve as a point of contact to ensure elections are transparent.
“Election integrity is critical” and the “cornerstone of our democracy,” said Supervisor David Haubert, echoing comments by Carson.
From ballot box to courthouse
Hutchinson said during public comment that he is taking legal action over the results of his race. He was not immediately available for further comment Friday.
Nick Resnick was declared the winner in the District 4 race, and he has hired an attorney. Attorney Jim Sutton of the Sutton Law Firm is representing Resnick and said Friday morning that his firm will respond to Hutchinson’s lawsuit.
Sutton said his firm does not believe Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis had the authority to retabulate the vote or retabulate it the way he did. The re-tabulation showed that Hutchinson won the race.
Moreover, Dupuis did it without telling anyone and he didn’t allow anyone to observe, Sutton said.
“He did it in the darkness of night,” Sutton said.
Dupuis explained during the board meeting that the error occurred because of the way the voting machine was configured. The machine can be configured to tabulate ranked-choice votes at least two ways. Dupuis did not explain how the misconfiguration happened.
Carson’s proposal calls for a group that is independent of the Alameda County Registrar of Voters “to oversee a manual recount of the election outcomes in question.”
Carson said in his proposal he is concerned about ranked-choice voting results in the Oakland mayoral race, San Leandro elections and the race for the OUSD District 4 school board seat.
The county Registrar of Voters office could cover the cost of the recount, Carson suggested. All four board members present Thursday were willing to support Carson’s suggestion. Supervisor Richard Valle was excused from the meeting.
Last month, Black voters led by the Oakland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called for a recount of the Oakland mayoral race and asked the Registrar of Voters to pay for it. Dupuis’ office refused.
The cost was estimated at $21,000 per day. Black voters were told the day before the recount was set to begin to bring $21,000 to the registrar’s office as a down payment.
The Black voters did not provide the down payment and a recount was not started.
Dupuis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither Oakland Mayor-elect Sheng Thao nor mayoral race runner-up Loren Taylor were immediately available for a comment on the possible recount.
A copy of Carson’s proposal can be found online. The county may modify the proposal before Tuesday’s meeting.