CHULA VISTA (CNS) - The recount in the closest City Council race in Chula Vista history was called off today by defeated candidate Steve Padilla, who contended that numerous ballots weren't being taken into account.
Padilla lost to Councilman John McCann by just two votes after the initial count of nearly 37,000 ballots cast. The county Democratic Party funded the recount, but McCann has already taken the oath of office.
"After a week of counting ballots, it has become clear that many valid ballots are not being counted and this recount is unlikely to change the result," Padilla said in a prepared statement.
"In the most common case, registered Chula Vista voters cast ballots on Election Day, but in listing a mailing address on their voting materials, had their votes thrown out," Padilla said. "The Registrar's decision to throw out these valid votes and silence these voters' voices is wrong."
He said he and his team will go over their options in the next few days "to ensure Chula Vista voters' voices are heard."
According to the county Registrar of Voters Office, each candidate had lost one vote with about one-third of the ballots counted again. If no one else asks for a recount by Friday at 8:19 a.m. -- 24 hours after Padilla asked for the stoppage -- the results will become official.
Registrar Michael Vu told City News Service that, as of early Thursday afternoon, no one had asked for the recount to continue.
He said around 335 mail-in or provisional ballots were not counted because they were submitted late, were unsigned, or a comparison of signatures with those on registration forms did not match.
The disqualification of 10 provisional ballots had been challenged, according to Vu. He said the law requires voters to provide their residential address, but the ones in question had listed business addresses or post office boxes, or addresses that did not exist.
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