Recounts requested in two Contra Costa County races

November election recounts requested in two Contra Costa County races
Cesar Zepeda (left) and Andrew Butt (Photos courtesy of candidates).

Recounts have been requested in both the Richmond District 2 City Council race and the Antioch District 1 City Council race, the County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department announced Wednesday.

In the Richmond City Council District 2 race, Andrew Butt and Cesar Zepeda tied with 1,921 votes. On Tuesday, the Richmond City Clerk moved to break the stalemate by drawing from envelopes in a bag containing the candidate’s names, which is city policy when a vote tie occurs. Zepeda was declared winner in the draw.

The recount in Antioch will examine Tamisha Torres-Walker’s victory by three votes over Joy Motts.

The County Clerk-Recorder-Elections Department noted that manual tally audits were conducted for both of the very close races. Those audits were attended by the affected candidates and media representatives, and Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Debi Cooper said her staff did an “excellent joh and I am confident in their work.”

Cooper also said the recount requests “are within the rules.”

In California, any voter may request a recount without providing a reason. For single-county races, a recount must be requested within five days of the county canvass/certification, officials said.

“As per state law, the requestor of the recount must pay the cost for the recount,” said Clerk-Recorder-Registrar Debi Cooper.

Cooper’s office is currently determining the recount’s cost. The recount must begin within seven days of its official request, and will begin once the County has provided the requestor the costs, and after payment for the first day’s processing is received.

“The cost is determined based on the steps involved in the recount, including the sorting out of the physical paper ballots,” Cooper said.

If the recount changes the outcome election in favor of the requestor, the requestor will be refunded for its cost according to California law. If there’s no change in the outcome, the requestor can get a refund if the amount paid was greater than the actual cost of the recount.

If the recount is conducted with original paper ballots, it is expected to take 6-7 days.

“Conducting parallel recounts for two districts may save some shared costs but will take longer than the process for a single jurisdiction,” according to officials.

More information is available on the Secretary of State’s website here.