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Harris takes slim lead in attorney general's race [Updated]

San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris took the slenderest of leads in the race for California attorney general late Friday, moving ahead by 303 votes out of more than 8 million cast in one of the closest statewide races in decades.

[Updated at 8:25 p.m.: Updated numbers from several counties put Harris ahead by 3,609 votes.]

Harris, the Democratic candidate, was buoyed by updated vote counts from several counties where she had outpolled Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, the Republican, on election day, including Los Angeles, Contra Costa, Marin and Santa Clara.

As of 6:30 p.m. Friday, Harris had 4,117,728 votes compared to 4,117,425 for Cooley, according to a Times review of website updates by all 58 counties.

[Updated at 8:25 p.m.: The numbers give Harris 4,131,847 votes to Cooley's 4,128,238.]

The secretary of state reported late Friday that Harris was leading by about 5,500 votes, but its count lagged more than 150,000 votes behind the most recent figures provided by each county.

Both campaigns said the lead probably would trade hands in future days as more votes are counted throughout the state.

Kevin Spillane, a Cooley political strategist, said his campaign had grown concerned that Los Angeles County workers have not been following proper procedures for counting ballots. Campaign officials had sought legal advice and complained to the county registrar, he said.

Some vote counters have responded to complaints about individual ballots by placing them back in a pile of votes to be counted later, he said.

"It’s very important … that the process be utterly transparent and beyond question," Spillane said.

Los Angeles County Registrar Dean Logan said Cooley’s campaign had expressed broad concerns but had not issued any specific complaints about the vote-counting process. He said he believed his workers had followed the law.

"I don’t believe there’s been anything raised at this point that is a significant concern," Logan said.

The state’s final vote tally is not likely to be known until near the end of the month, when counties are required by law to certify their counts.

After election night, more than 2.3 million ballots still needed to be counted statewide. Since Nov. 3, armies of county workers have whittled that number to about 900,000, counting most of the mail-in ballots that arrived too late to be tallied on election day.

The majority of the remaining votes -- about 500,000 statewide -- are so-called provisional ballots, which are given to voters when polling places do not have a record of their registration, often because a voter has moved since registering.

Before a provisional ballot can be counted, election officials must verify that the voter was registered and that the signature on the ballot matches voter registration records. Provisional ballots also must be checked to make sure that votes were not cast in local elections outside of the jurisdiction in which the voter lived.

About 80% to 85% of provisional ballots are usually deemed to be valid, Logan said.

Although the outcome of most races is usually clear on election night, Logan said it generally takes weeks before all of the ballots are counted.

"That is the case in virtually every election," he said. "I think there’s just a greater awareness of it in this election because of the close margin of votes in the attorney general’s race."

-- Jack Leonard

Comments () | Archives (10)

Steve Cooley = Joe Miller

jus' tryin' to find a way to steal an election

In all close contests, Marxist Democrats "find" uncounted ballots. It's happened in every close election since 2000.


Cooley is bad for L.A., bad for California. His anti-medical marijuana stance is unconscionable. I'm 54, have more metal in my body than "Steve Austin", arthritis everywhere it seems, and diabetes, which makes taking NSAIDS out of the question. Medical pot is a Godsend! And there are a WHOLE lot of other older folks who need easy access to this plant. But if it was up to Cooley, we wouldn't have it at all. Do some abuse marijuana and medical marijuana laws? You bet. But if that's the huge objection, then it's time we outlaw alcohol and cigarettes IMMEDIATELY, since the abuse of these two things kill hundreds of thousands a year and cost taxpayers billions. According to the Center for Disease Control, marijuana doesn't kill anybody. And according to just about any farmer or economist, hemp would be a HUGE plus for the economy, for industry, for agriculture.

Kamala Harris = Michael Dukakis

jus' trying to give a pass to the next Willie Horton

Alcoholics should not hold public office

Yoooooohooooo! Alan Barcelona! Over here! Did you really spend $3MILLION against your new governor and your NEW BOSS AG Kamela Harris? Did your membership approve spending that money? CSLEA is going the way of the dodo....and you better get to the track so you can pass a real physical and show up to work for the first time in 17 years. And it won't be the same physical with Lockyer's personal physician after you donated $100k to Lockyer. This is the one with the real blood pressure test and medical history evaluation. How is that ticker by the way? Maybe you and Kasey Casum Clark can go work for one of the Indian tribes you have given so much of your members dues to. Oh, and did you read that Marty Morganstern is the head of Jerry Brown's labor issues transition team? You know, the guy you insulted right after he had back surgery and was laid up in bed? Sucks to be you guys!

How can any of you guys vote for the same person Karl Rove and the Koch brothers are supporting? You guys are nit-picking about a few Harris technicalities and completely ignoring the fact that Cooley is being sponsered by those who profiteer on the suffering of our citizens by relentlessly supporting {for profit} wars, laws and medicine.

It would be a disaster if Cooley won, especially after proposition 19 failed!
Watch out green thumbs if Cooley gets in!

Go Harris. Send Cooley into retirement so he can't double dip into the retirement plan and obtain a pay for his unwanted services.

I did not vote for Ms. Harris. She has a bad attitude and is very power-hungry. Ever since she could not brow-beat my X into letting the Homicide Victim's annual quilt ceremony and the actual quilts themselves be under her Department so she could get the kudos, she gave him the blues. That event is something he footed the bill for out of his own pocket but she wanted the kudos. Anything to make her look good. She was not happy he was more popular in the Bayview Hunter's point area than she. She really tried to get rid of him because he stood on principles and right and wrong and not politics.


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