The Alameda County Transportation Commission will proceed with a recount of votes in a ballot measure to fund transportation projects -- including an extension of BART to Livermore.
The commission tentatively requested a recount on Monday.
The voting machines that counted the ballots registered 69,000 (out of a total of more than 500,000) as "under votes." That means that ballots were made up of multiple cards, and voters indicated their choices on only some of these cards. For example, the voters might have voted for president but not indicated whether they were in favor of Measure B1, the transportation measure.
The commission is hoping that some of these cards were recorded as under votes by mistake. By hiring human beings to count the cards by hand, it hopes to uncover some votes in favor of the measure that were overlooked.
"We want to see if we can target some precincts where we had some high support," said the commission's executive director, Art Dao. He said the recount will focus on precincts in Berkeley, where the measure got 81 percent "yes" votes, and Oakland, where it got 76 percent "yes" votes.
Scrutinizing the votes in these precincts will cost about $30,000 to $40,000 Dao estimates.
In the first count of the vote countywide the measure got 66.53 percent votes in favor, about 700 votes short of the 66.67 percent needed to pass. It needs a two-thirds majority to pass because it would increase a sales tax funding transportation from half a cent to one cent per dollar spent.
After recounting the votes, the commission will decide whether to go forward with a recount of all the precincts in the county. That could be a big job, said Dave Macdonald, Alameda County Registrar of Voters, because there were four cards for most of the ballots.
Dao said the commission hopes to know whether it should go forward with a full recount by the end of next week.
In looking at the precincts, Dao found that support for the measure was much lower in Livermore. There, 52 percent votes against. The finding was interesting because $400 million generated by the tax would be used to fund an extension of BART to Livermore.