PolitiCal

On politics in the Golden State

Category: tobacco

Backers of Prop. 29 tobacco tax concede defeat

Proponents of the tobacco tax initiative on the June 5 ballot conceded defeat Friday after weeks of holding out hope that the measure would eke out a victory as elections officials across California tallied an estimated 1 million uncounted ballots.

“The defeat of this life-saving initiative is a genuine tragedy," said Doug Ulman, president and chief executive of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, which backed the measure known as Proposition 29. "Big Tobacco lied to voters to protect its profits and spent $50 million to ensure it can continue peddling its deadly products to California kids.

“We will not let this setback defeat us," he continued. "In a time when one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in our nation, we must continue fighting for new investments in cancer research and smoking cessation.”

The measure on Friday was losing by more than 27,000 votes with only 111,000 uncounted ballots remaining -- realistically too few to close the gap.

Proposition 29 would have added a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes, and an equivalent amount on other tobacco products, to raise an estimated $860 million a year for research on tobacco-related diseases and prevention programs. The American Cancer Society and cycling champ Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, were among the measure’s biggest proponents, raising more than $11 million to support the ballot initiative.

Tobacco companies poured nearly $47 million into their campaign to defeat Proposition 29 and were joined by anti-tax and business groups.

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Opponents gain as Proposition 29 tobacco tax vote count continues

The tight vote count for the June 5 tobacco tax ballot initiative swung sharply toward the opposition as elections officials across California continue to tally the last remaining uncounted ballots.

The measure, known as Proposition 29, was losing by 27,326 votes Friday morning -– two days after the gap was just over 13,000 votes. The gap has narrowed from 63,000 on election night.

More than 5 million ballots already have been counted across the state. The California secretary of State’s office estimates that, as of Friday morning, just over 148,000 ballots remained uncounted. Shortly after the primary, there were more than a million uncounted ballots statewide.

The uncounted ballots consist of many cast by mail, as well as provisional and damaged ones.

Proposition 29 would add a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to raise an estimated $860 million a year for research on tobacco-related diseases and prevention programs. The American Cancer Society and cycling champ Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, were among the measure’s biggest proponents, raising more than $11 million to support the ballot initiative.

Tobacco companies poured nearly $47 million into their campaign to defeat Proposition 29 and were joined by anti-tax and business groups.

County elections officials have until July 6 to process ballots and report their official results to the secretary of state.

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Vote remains close on Prop. 29 tobacco tax ballot initiative

The vote count for the June 5 tobacco tax ballot initiative remained tight Tuesday as elections officials across California continued tallying hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots.

The measure, Proposition 29, was losing by 17,534 votes – or four-tenths of 1% -- a gap that narrowed from 63,000 on election night, according to the California secretary of state’s office.

More than 4.9 million ballots already have been counted across the state. The secretary of state’s office estimates that, as of Tuesday morning, just over 370,000 ballots across that state remained uncounted. Shortly after the primary, there were more than a million uncounted ballots statewide.

The uncounted ballots consist of many cast by mail, as well as provisional and damaged ones.

Proposition 29 would add a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to raise an estimated $860 million a year for research on tobacco-related diseases and prevention programs. The American Cancer Society and cycling champion Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, were among the measure’s biggest proponents, raising more than $11 million to support the ballot initiative.

Tobacco companies poured nearly $47 million into their campaign to defeat Proposition 29 and were joined by business and anti-tax groups.

-- Phil Willon

Tobacco tax vote count continues, gap almost cut in half

The vote count for the tobacco tax on last week’s primary ballot narrowed again Tuesday as elections officials across California tallied hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots.

The measure, known as Proposition 29, was losing by just over 33,200, a gap that narrowed from 63,000 on election night, state election figures show.

More than 4.5 million ballots already have been counted across the state. The Secretary of State’s office estimates that, as of Monday evening, 777,000 ballots remain uncounted. Shortly after the primary, there were more than a million uncounted ballots statewide.

The uncounted ballots consist of many cast by mail, as well as provisional and damaged ones.

Proposition 29 would add a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to raise an estimated $860 million a year for research on tobacco-related diseases and prevention programs. The American Cancer Society and cycling champ Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, were among the measure’s biggest proponents, helping to raise more than $11 million to support the ballot initiative.

Tobacco companies poured nearly $47 million into their campaign to defeat Proposition 29 and were joined by anti-tax and business groups.

--Phil Willon

Margin on tobacco tax measure continues to narrow

The margin of loss for the tobacco tax on Tuesday’s primary ballot continued to narrow Friday as elections officials across California tallied hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots.

Proposition 29 was losing by just over 45,000 votes Friday afternoon, compared with 53,000 votes Thursday and 63,000 on election night. On Friday morning, the margin was down to 40,000, but it bounced upward by 5,000 later in the day.

“Ballots continue to trend in our direction. We still have an awfully long way to go, but we hope that [the trend] continues to hold," said Chris Lehman, campaign manager for Yes on 29.

More than 4 million ballots have already been counted across the state. The secretary of state’s office released a partial estimate of the number of uncounted ballots Friday morning -- 972,000 -- but that did not include outstanding ballots in 12 of California’s 58 counties.

The uncounted ballots consist of many cast by mail, as well as provisional and damaged ones.

-- Phil Willon

 

Yes on 29 campaign refuses to concede on tobacco tax initiative

Proponents of the tobacco tax initiative on Tuesday’s state ballot refused to concede Thursday, saying they still hope to overcome the current 1.4% margin of defeat as elections officials across California tally an estimated 1 million uncounted ballots.

The measure, on the ballot as Proposition 29, on Thursday was losing by just over 55,000 votes as updated ballot counts continued to trickle in from county elections offices.

The Secretary of State’s office of released a partial estimate of the number of uncounted ballots as of Thursday afternoon -- 702,000 -– but that did not include estimates in more than half of California’s 58 counties.

Among those not included were Orange, Fresno, Kern, Santa Clara and San Bernardino counties. There were 176,000 ballots left to be counted in Los Angeles County, which was included in the state estimate.

Steve Smith, a political consultant for Yes on 29, said the campaign believes there are more than 1 million ballots left to be counted. Just under 4 million ballots cast in the primary election already have been tallied, state election records show.

“We’re talking about 20% of the overall vote essentially not being counted yet," Smith said. “The election almost certainly is going to get narrower."

Beth Miller, spokeswoman for No on 29, said their campaign was happy to emerge with a 63,000 vote advantage on election night.

"Nothing that we’ve seen right now would indicate there would be a big vote swing one way or another. But obviously we are watching it closely,'' she said.

The pool of uncounted ballots consists of many vote-by-mail ballots, including some that were turned in on Election Day, as well as provisional and damaged ballots. Signatures on the vote-by-mail and provisional ballots must be verified by elections workers before being counted.

So-called “provisional ballots” are given to voters when polling places do not have a record of their registration, often because a voter has moved since registering. Provisional ballots must also be checked to make sure that votes were not cast in local elections outside the jurisdiction in which the voter lived. About 80% to 85% of provisional ballots are usually deemed valid.

County elections officials have until July 6 to process those ballots and report their final results to the Secretary of State.

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-- Phil Willon

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