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Voters, Civil Rights Group Push for Recount in Oakland Mayoral Race

Votes from the November election have been certified, but they’re far from undisputed in Alameda County.

On Tuesday, the board of supervisors listened as voters and a civil rights group demanded a recount of the Oakland mayor’s race, and demanded the county pay for it.

That demand was expanded to include every ranked-choice race in the county with the claim that ranked-choice voting was too confusing for many voters, leading to a tainted outcome.

“In order to enhance transparency and accountability I’m calling for a recount with a focus on those elections whose outcome have been called into question in which ranked-choice voting elections,” said Supervisor Keith Carson.

Under the proposal, the county would pay for a recount in both the Oakland mayoral and school board race as well as San Leandro elections.  

Oakland’s NAACP led the charge in demanding a recount in the city’s mayoral race, citing issues with how the city’s ranked-choice voting system was explained to voters. 

“This is about integrity, it’s about fairness and that is what we are calling for,” said Allie Whitehurst, Oakland NAACP political action chair. “We hope that this independent manual recount with oversight will do that regardless of what the final results show.”

The supervisor’s proposal also includes independent third party oversight of the recount and a permanent election oversight committee.   

The Oakland NAACP said it’s a necessary step to regain voters’ trust in the system. 

“This is serious here, so I think we need to get to the bottom of it, we need an exhaustive level of scrutiny on these ballots, especially each and every ballot that was disqualified,” said Senca Scott, Oakland mayoral candidate from the NAACP. “We need to know why and was that voter’s intent clear.” 

Other residents are calling for an end to ranked-choice voting altogether after the Registrars of Voters admitted its vote count software was configured incorrectly, leading to a mistake in who won the Oakland District 4 school board seat.  

With the votes already certified, supervisors are discussing legal options in a ranked-choice voting fight. Those calling for more transparency say their demands will remain until a recount is done. 

“I feel it’s necessary to restore the confidence of the citizens in the process,” said Whitehurst.  

Any recount would cost tens of thousands of dollars.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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