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Fresno County City's Public Safety Tax Fails. Recount Planned.
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 3 weeks ago on
April 1, 2024

Measure O, an Orange Cove public safety sales tax measure, failed by two votes. The city wants a recount. (GV Wire Composite/Paul Marshall)

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A public safety tax measure extension in Orange Cove failed by two votes. Now, the city manager plans to ask for a recount.

With a final vote count update last Friday, Measure O received 352 yes votes and 178 no votes out of 530 total. That is 66.4151%. It needed two-thirds (or more than 66.6%) to pass.

“That’s a shame, because it is for public safety,” Orange Cove City Manager Daniel Parra said. “We’ll petition the county for a recount.”

Last week, the county added eight votes to count — ballots with signature problems. Voters could “cure” the ballot by reaching out to the election office. Orange Cove needed all eight of those ballots to be in favor for Measure O to pass — the count was 6 to 2.

The measure would have levied $95 per parcel, raising about $263,000 a year. Parra said it was an extension of an existing tax.

“In these smaller jurisdictions, every vote really counts. And, of course, they want a recount. They want their tax money,” said Fresno County Libertarian Party vice chair Kat McElroy. She wrote the opposition to Measure O in the county voter guide.

Only 17% of Orange Cove voters turned out for Measure O.

Recount Cheaper Than New Election

 

“It could be the postmark that was not looked at carefully.”Orange Cove City Manager Daniel Parra

Fresno County Election Clerk James Kus certified the election last Friday after the final count.

“I currently estimate that a recount for Measure O would cost between $3,000 and $6,000. Without a final count and information from the requestor about what materials they want to examine and how they want to recount the ballots, I can’t be more precise. I will say that it is much more likely to be at the lower end of that range,” Kus said.

Parra said that figure is cheaper than a new election, which would cost $50,000.

“It could be the postmark that was not looked at carefully. So I’m just going to ask certain criteria just to look at certain things. And if something pops out, fine. It doesn’t, we gave it a shot,” Parra said.

Parra wants to look first at votes that came in after the March 5 election. Votes count that arrived at the election office by March 12, as long as it was postmarked by March 5.

Two votes would need to be flipped for Measure O to pass.

The final results show eight “undervotes,” meaning the voter skipped the question.

Recounts must be requested by Wednesday at 5 p.m.

McElroy said the economy, and the fact her group wrote an objection in the voter guide, led to Measure O’s failure.

“With inflation being very high for the last several years, people really do notice all the prices rising. Another tax is just more money out of everybody’s pockets,” McElroy said.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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