The parties behind the recount of one of the tightest races in Burbank election history — had to jump through a number of hoops tossed up by City Hall officials — not all of them legal. Burbank resident George Marciniw and Judy Alter of Protect California Ballots, an election watchdog group, were first told by Burbank officials that all of the fee for the recount would have to be paid up front — when the request was made.
Burbank City Clerk, Margarita Campos, explained to Alter that the full fee was required under the Municipal Election Code. The ex-UCLA professor pointed out that the Burbank code is out of line with the California Election Code, which allows for payments at the beginning of each day of the recount.
Alter and Marciniw agreed to a deposit of $450 with the recount request, but Burbank officials backed down at the last minute — and that requirement was dropped.
Below is the official request for a recount from Burbank resident George Marciniw and the Protect California Ballots organization.
April 20, 2011Margarita Campos, CMC City of Burbank City Clerk 275 East Olive Avenue Burbank, CA 91502
Election Protest for the City Council contest of April 12, 2011 Request for a recount by hand of the entire contest
Dear Ms. Campos:
I write this request for a recount by hand for the entire City Council contest of April 12, 2011 in the City of Burbank in reference to Burbank Municipal Code 2-3-2107 A and B.
“A. Within five (5) days after the results of the election have been posted, any voter of the City may file a verified written protest with the City Clerk contesting the count of the ballots
B. Should the City Clerk have reasonable cause to believe the ballots in a precinct(s) have been miscounted, he or she may order a recount. [Formerly numbered Section 11-236; renumbered by Ord. No. 3058, eff. 2/21/87; Amended by Ord. No. 3787, eff. 9/10/10; 3562.]”
1. The name and address of the voter protesting;
The voter requesting the recount by hand is George Marciniw, 1521 W. Magnolia, Suite A, Burbank, CA 91506.
I have asked the non-partisan election integrity group Protect California Ballots to assist in the recount request and observation of the process. The group and their logo are registered with the California Secretary of State as an unincorporated unaffiliated citizen association.
2. The name of the person whose right to be nominated or elected to office, stating the office, is being contested; or the proposition being contested;
I am asking for a recount by hand of the City Council Contest of April 12, 2011.
3. The number of the precinct or precincts wherein it is claimed errors in the counting of ballots would give a different result, if corrected.
I am asking that all precincts be included in the recount as provided for in the Burbank Municipal Code 2-3-2107.
4. A statement of particulars as to the errors claimed to have been made in the original count.
The difference between the two candidates in the contest for City Council, Robert “Bob” Frutos and Emily Gabel Luddy, is 1%, 95 votes (1.07%), and the under-vote (the number of voters not voting in that race) is 139 (1.57%). The 1% difference should automatically trigger an escalation of the 1% manual tally used as an audit from one precinct to at least two precincts. Since Ms Campos has decided not to recount another precinct to double-check that the machine count was accurate, as a concerned citizen, I am requesting that the entire election of all precincts in Burbank be recounted by hand.
5. A demand for a recount of the ballots cast in the specified precinct or precincts.
I am asking for a recount by hand of all ballots counted and all ballots rejected in the City Council Contest of April 12, 2011.
Additionally I request to examine and review the chain of custody of the distribution, return, and handling of the ballots, as this was an all mail-in election. Citizens have expressed concern about the delivery of their ballots to the city clerk’s office, how the ballots are stored, how accurately their signatures are matched, as well as the accuracy of the vote count.
6. A deposit in an amount estimated by the City Clerk to cover the cost of the recount.
I am prepared to deposit $450 toward the cost of the recount by hand for the April 12, 2011 Burbank City Council Election before the recount commences as stipulated in the code.
Ms. Campos has requested $4,500 for the hand recount, as part of the Protest (2-3-2107 (6). This request for money as part of the request for the recount by hand to cover the cost contrasts with the California Election Code #15624,15625, which specifies that the requester for the recount shall deposit the money before the recount commences and each subsequent day, not on the day the recount request is requested. The cost specified in CA EC 15625 is for the daily compensation that a poll worker receives. Therefore, for one recount board of four members, the cost would be approximately $400 or for two recount boards, $800. I am requesting an itemized list of the costs that make up the $4500. Voters are entitled to this itemized list as spelled out in the Secretary of State’s recount regulations.