Measure R Recount Begins, Could Cost Backers $20,000 By J. DOUGLAS ALLEN-TAYLOR

Tuesday December 14, 2004

A requested recount of Berkeley’s medical marijuana Measure R vote could cost the Yes On R Committee about $21,000, according to an estimate by a representative of the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office. 

The Yes On R Committee made the recount request last week, and recounting has already started. Assistant Registrar of Voters Elaine Ginnold gave a “rough estimate” that it would take a week to “sort out the ballots” and another week to do the actual counting. 

Recount costs in California are $3,000 for the first day and $2,000 for each subsequent day. 

The ballots to be recounted are 22,631 absentee ballots as well as 6,714 provisional ballots cast by paper on election day. The remaining roughly 31,500 votes were cast on computerized touch-screen voting machines. Measure R proponents could have asked for a manual recount of printouts of the touch-screen votes of each voter. Instead, the group opted simply to have the machines re-run their internal vote tallies. 

Measure R—which would have raised the number of medical marijuana plants allowed in the possession of users and would have made it easier for medical marijuana clubs to relocate in Berkeley—lost by 191 votes out of more than 50,000 votes cast in the Nov. 2 election. 

That margin of difference—0.38 percent—would have triggered a mandatory, county-funded recount in 14 states, including Florida. However, California is one of 21 states that require parties requesting recounts to pay for those recounts. If the recount reverses the results of the election, the money is refunded to the requesting party. 

Representatives of the Yes On R campaign were not available for comment.