Another major setback for the recount supporters. Late yesterday, Judy Alter of the election watchdog group, Protect California Ballots, notified Burbank City Clerk, Margarita Campos, that the second recount request for the city council run-off of April 12, 2011 was being withdrawn. If you’re keeping score, that’s two wins for the city insiders and zip for the concerned citizens of Burbank .
Alter admits she erred in her reasoning for the second recount request. It was based on her interpretation of section 15620 of the California Elections Code. In an e-mail dated May 3, 2011, Lowell Finley, Chief Counsel Secretary of State, set Alter straight: “Your understanding of section 15620 is incorrect. In an unconsolidated Burbank city election, the elections official is the Burbank City Clerk, not the L.A. County Registrar of Voters, and the canvass is conducted by the City Clerk, not the Burbank City Council.” If you’re going to play the political game in Burbank you’d better know the rules if you want to win.
Bottom line, the five-day protest period was indeed triggered by the Burbank City Clerk finalizing the election results and certifying the election on April 15 — not later on April 26, when the City Council passed a resolution declaring or accepting the election results. I spoke to Campos about this election certification process a few times. She told me that announcements of the certification are posted in several departments of the city. In my opinion, this information should have been included in the city hall April 15 e-mails sent out to the media and to the public about the final results of the General Election.
Finley provided another bit of important information in that May 3 e-mail: “The ultimate arbiter of the application of the law to the facts of this election and its aftermath would be the courts. In this context, the courts owe no deference to the opinion of the Secretary of State’s office. This is a matter on which you and others wanting a recount must rely, not on this office, but on the advice of private counsel, just as the city must rely on the advice of its city attorney.”