Absentee, Provisional Ballots Raise Questions About Outcome of Referendum on Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Law
Officials for the secretary of state on Tuesday said ongoing tabulation of 17 counties' absentee and provisional ballots from the Nov. 2 election show a larger percentage of support to uphold SB 2, a state law requiring some employers to provide health care benefits to workers, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rau/Reiterman, Los Angeles Times, 11/1).
Under Proposition 72, residents could vote "yes" to uphold or "no" to repeal SB 2.
Data posted on the Secretary of State Web site following the close of the polls showed that 50.9% of state voters supported repealing SB 2 and that 49.1% favored upholding the law (California Healthline, 11/5).
However, by late Tuesday, returns showed that 50.5% of voters favored upholding the law. State elections officials posted the updated results on the secretary of state Web site Tuesday but they removed the figures after a few hours, "fearing that a clerical error was responsible" for the shift in support, according to the Times.
The Web site on Monday reported that about 224,000 absentee and provisional ballots remain uncounted. County officials were given 28 days to tally all votes and have been reporting results since Nov. 2. Many of the counties electronically filed votes with the office to meet Tuesday's deadline, the Times reports.
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley (D) has until Dec. 11 to certify the election results. However, officials said they would unofficially verify the information Wednesday.
Shelley spokesperson Caren Daniels-Meade said, "This has happened before in almost every election, in some race in some level." She added that the office is "suspicious that one [of the counties] did not report something right."
Elaine Ginnold, a spokesperson for the Alameda County registrar of voters, said that "it sounds like there might have been some glitch."
Josh Pulliam, manager for the campaign favoring a 'yes' vote on Proposition 72, said, "We've been monitoring this for about a month, and there have been ebbs and flows. We're going to be patient and hopeful that pretty soon one million Californians are going to wake up and have access to health care" (Los Angeles Times 12/1).