Word from the Registrar of Voters this morning is that Steve Padilla supporters have called off the balance of the recount in the Chula Vista City Council contest, thus cementing John McCann’s prior win. In the last few days Team Padilla shifted gears from the recount effort to contesting disallowed ballots (see below), then back to the recount, all to no avail.
In fact, one contested ballot that Padilla wanted included in the mix yesterday ended up being a vote for McCann. Unless the entire City is recounted, however, the final tally stays with the certified result. The closest race in Chula Vista history thus ends officially with a two vote victory by Republican McCann.
“We are pleased with the results and looking to getting to work to represent the people of Chula Vista,” said Derrick Roach, who’s been at the Registrar’s office every day of the recount in support of McCann. “We understand this was a close and contested race and we are appreciative for the professionalism from the Padilla observers who worked with what was ultimately a difficult hand.”
“The McCann win in Chula Vista is a huge victory for taxpayers who will have a genuine advocate on the City Council,” said County Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric.
McCann’s wife Myssie, also a fixture during the recount, said, “We are so impressed with the thoroughness of the Registrar’s staff during this election. Registrar Michael Vu has a very detail-oriented group working under him. Now I can finally shop for my kids’ Christmas gifts!”
Observers say that Padilla’s supporters spent about $80,000 on the recount effort.
Rumor has it that Padilla will be issuing a statement soon and that he believes some voters were disenfranchised.
Padilla’s subsequent statement, release 10:26 am:
Statement of Steve Padilla On Ending Of Recount In Chula Vista City Council Race
CHULA VISTA — Today, Steve Padilla issued the following statement:
“After a week of counting ballots, it has become clear that many valid ballots are not being counted and this recount is unlikely to change the result.
“In the most common case, registered Chula Vista voters cast ballots on Election Day, but in listing a mailing address on their voting materials, had their votes thrown out. The Registrar’s decision to throw out these valid votes and silence these voters’ voices is wrong.
“I remain more committed than ever to counting every vote. In the coming days my team and I will be looking at options beyond a recount to ensure Chula Vista voters’ voices are heard.
“I remain extremely grateful to the thousands of voters who gave their support to me in this election and to the many staff and volunteers who worked so hard.”
Original Post – December 14, 2014:
Breaking: Padilla shifts gears in Chula Vista recount, now contesting disallowed ballots
Following the two-vote victory by Republican John McCann over Democrat Steve Padilla in the November Chula Vista City Council election — or at least the two-vote certified results — it was no surprise that Padilla supporters requested a recount and fronted the required deposit to get things going.
However, following three days of recounting, in the last hour the Registrar of Voters announced that process will stop. Instead, Padilla supporters are now challenging 269 ballots that were previously not counted at all, because they were rejected by the Registrar due to the voters not being eligible to cast a ballot.
In essence, the Padilla campaign would like those ballots included in the vote total and is challenging the Registrar’s decision to exclude the votes.
The 269 ballots will be reviewed Monday. It’s safe to say a few lawyers are now really earning their pay, including County Counsel.
Prior to today’s shift in strategy by Padilla’s team, the Registrar’s office started the recount process last Wednesday. Twenty-five precincts were initially requested to be re-checked.
Following two days of recounting, by Thursday evening there was no change in the vote tally, with about 20 precincts complete. Padilla supporters upped the number of precincts requested by 44, to 69 total out of the city’s 112 precincts.
But then on Friday, a “sea change,” with four total ballots revising the count. Uhhh, the net change being zero votes and McCann still up by two.
A total of 29 precincts are now recounted.
It’s important to remember that if any change in individual ballots along the way were to put Padilla in the lead, the entire city must still be recounted for it to mean anything. Otherwise, the count reverts to the certified results.
Yet, with more than one-quarter of the city recounted and only minor changes resulting, the Registrar’s initial tally appears to be accurate.
That’s substantiated by today’s tactical shift by Padilla partisans, who likely have determined a recount may be futile and are thus pinning their hopes on forcing excluded ballots into the pool of votes.
It remains to be seen whether “close” only does count in horseshoes and atom bombs.