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California Primary Recount For Controller Prompts Electoral Reform Bill



The recount in California’s primary race for state Controller is prompting questions about the fairness and efficiency of the state’s recount procedures. A state lawmaker is beginning a legislative effort that would address the questions.

Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin is working on a bill that would eliminate the system in which third place finishers in tight races can pay for recounts in favorable districts. UC Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen supports some of Mullin’s reform ideas.

“When you have an election in which millions of ballots are cast and the difference between the candidates is within the hundreds of votes, I think we should have an automatic recount,” says Hasen. “It should be done statewide under uniform standards, and candidates should not have to pay for it.”

Hasen says he supports Mullin’s call to eliminate the current county-by-county system, which allows candidates to pay for recounts in districts that favor them. Former Democratic Assemblyspeaker John Pérez has called for a recount in the 15 counties where he did better than second place finisher and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee who is also a Democrat.

Mullin says he will introduce his bill when the legislature returns in August.



Max Pringle

State Government Reporter

Max covers the state capital, bringing more than a decade of experience in print and public radio, including reporting for KPFA, KQED and KALW. He traces his news roots to working on his his high school newspaper.   Read Full Bio 

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