Up until now, the state of California has been able to boast about one of the most liberal election "recount" statutes in the nation. It allows any voter or group of voters to request a post-election hand-count of any number of precincts in any race or ballot initiative in the state. The state election code allows crucial access to citizen oversight of public elections.
That may all be about to change, however, if a Republican proposal, currently being supported by Democrats in the state legislature and causing alarm among some who have carried out recent "recounts", becomes law.
[NOTE: The BRAD BLOG generally uses quotes around the word "recount" to denote post-election hand-counts of ballots which have never actually been counted by human beings, but rather, only tabulated by computers. It's impossible to know whether those computers actually tallied votes accurately unless paper ballots are examined by hand.]
Under current law, voters seeking such a post-election count have to pay for the cost, though if the outcome of the election is changed in favor of the requester, they are entitled to receive a refund. Over the years, The BRAD BLOG has also documented abuse by County Registrars who have arbitrarily priced such counts so high that they became cost-prohibitive, effectively blocking such citizen oversight from happening at all.
Still, the provision for post-election citizen oversight of election results in the state, until now, has been far better than most such laws elsewhere in the nation.
But now, a bill proposed by a Republican and broadly supported by Democrats in the state Assembly has moved on to the state Senate for approval. If it passes there and is signed by the Governor, it is almost certain to put a chill on post-election citizen oversight...for all but the wealthiest of voters...