Supporters of a proposed recount in San Francisco’s tight District 7 supervisorial race met with elections officials on Tuesday to discuss the cost of the process, and remained unsure today whether they will move forward with their request.
Retired schoolteacher Linda Plack filed the request for a recount on Monday on behalf of an independent expenditure committee backing labor leader and former port commissioner F.X. Crowley, who appeared to narrowly lose the race in the Nov. 6 election.
In final results that were certified last week by the city’s Department of Elections, board of education president Norman Yee edged out Crowley by 132 votes after six rounds of ranked-choice voting. Yee finished with 12,505 votes compared to 12,373 for Crowley.
Members of the independent expenditure committee, including political consultant Jim Stearns, met with Department of Elections director John Arntz on Tuesday to discuss the costs and details of the recount process.
Arntz said today that he asked the group to send another letter to the department with more details about what they are seeking in the recount, which he has estimated would cost about $5,000 per day.
Stearns said this morning that the group is working on that request and expects to hear back from elections officials later today on a more detailed cost and time estimate for the process.
Backers of a recount are required to pay the daily costs of the process, and would not be reimbursed if the final results do not change.
Stearns said the group has not decided on a limit to how much they would be willing to spend, but said that “certainly $100,000 would be out of reach, which might be a low figure if you look at the reality of a manual recount.”
He said a manual recount is a “fairly time-consuming” process since it would require counting the ballots by hand for each round of ranked-choice voting in the nine-candidate race.
Crowley appeared to distance himself from the recount effort in a statement released earlier this week by his political consultant Alex Tourk.
“After a thoughtful review of all options, Mr. Crowley has decided not to task his generous contributors towards financing an official recount,” Tourk said.
“While he believes the Department of Elections should automatically launch a recount due to the extremely close nature of the race, he will respect Mr. Arntz’s decision,” Tourk said.
Barring any new developments in the possible recount effort, Yee is expected to replace termed-out Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and be sworn into office in early January.
District 7 encompasses the southwestern part of the city and includes the West Portal and Parkmerced neighborhoods as well as areas near Lake Merced, San Francisco State University and west of Twin Peaks.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News