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Recount In State Controller's Race Starts In Kern And Imperial Counties

  Rich Pedroncelli, file / AP

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, second from left, and Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, right, walk to a meeting at the Governor's office at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010.

Rich Pedroncelli, file / AP

(AP) - Registrars in two counties are starting an unprecedented recount in the state controller's race, sending California election officials into uncharted territory.

The recount starting Friday in Kern and Imperial counties also highlights shortcomings in California election law, which has no provision for an automatic recount and forces a challenger to pay the cost.

Democratic Assemblyman John Perez of Los Angeles requested the recount after he finished just 481 votes behind a fellow Democrat, Board of Equalization member, Betty Yee for second place.

Yee's campaign says Perez is asking for a recount only where he expects to gain more votes. But Perez campaign strategist Douglas Herman says that's what happens "when the law is broken and there's no automatic statewide recount."

There also is no deadline to finish the recount.