The San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election Results and The Recount Process in San Bernardino County

By Michael Reiter, Attorney at Law

The semi-official results in yesterday’s General Municipal Election for City of San Bernardino City Clerk are that Gigi Hanna won by two votes:

Last Updated: February 7, 2012 9:20 PM
Registration & Turnout
71,881 Voters
Vote Count Percent
Precinct Turnout 12,192 16.96%
Total 12,192 16.96%
City Clerk, City of San Bernardino
170/170 100.00%
Vote Count Percent
Total 12,130 100.00%

Close elections sometimes involve recounts. It can involve a closer look to see if ballots were correctly counted by machines and if any votes counted were illegal or improperly voted.

California Elections Code section 15620 et seq. governs recounts requested by voters.  Any voter may file a request for a recount pursuant to Elections Code section 15620.  The request must be filed no later than five days after the completion of the official canvass.  The completion of the canvass occurs when the elections official signs the Certification of  Election Results.  Elections Code section 15620.

The request must be in writing, specify the contest to be recounted, and state on behalf of which candidate (in this case), slate of electors, or position on a measure it is filed.  Elections Code section 15620.  The request may specify the order in which precincts shall be recounted, it may specify the method of counting to be used, and any other relevant material to be examined.  Elections Code sections 15622, 15627, 15630.

If it is not a statewide measure, as this is not, the request needs to be filed with the county election official responsible for conducting the election.  However, the request needs to be filed with the City Clerk if it is a city election or if the city has not consolidated with the County.  Elections Code section 15620.

The election official will post a notice stating the date and place of the recount at least one day before the recount, and the candidates will be notified by overnight mail or personally.  Elections Code section 15628.

A recount is open to the public, and must start no later than seven days following the receipt of the request and shall be continued daily, except for Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, for no less than six hours a day until completed.  Elections Code sections 15626, 15629.  A manual recount must be conducted under the supervision of the election official by recount boards, (each consisting of four San Bernardino County voters), appointed by the election official.  Elections Code section 15625.  Every vote in every precinct must be recounted, or the results are null and void, and if a different candidate wins, the results of the official canvass will be changed.  Elections Code section 15632.  A copy of the results shall be posted conspicuously in the office of the election official.  Elections Code section 15633.

There is a cost associated with a recount, and the amount for this San Bernardino City Clerk General Municipal Election recount, should it occur, will depend on a variety of factors.  The election official determines the amount of the deposit necessary to cover the costs of the recount for each day.  The voter filling the request must deposit, before the start of the recount and at the beginning of each day , the amounts to cover the cost of each day.  If the results are reversed, the deposit must be returned.  Elections Code section 15624.

How much will the recount be, if one is requested?  San Bernardino County does not give the typical fees, but some other California Counties do (information was obtained from the Internet and is not necessarily reliable or up-to-date:

Santa Cruz:


  • 1 Board $240 – Supervisor Pay $325 – Cost per day $565
  • 2 Boards $480 – Supervisor Pay $500 – Cost per day $980
  • 3 Boards $720 – Supervisor Pay $675 – Cost per day $1395


Manual Tally Recount Fees
Number of Boards Fee Per Day
1 $969.00
2 $1,674.00
3 $2,379.00

Other Costs
Item Fee
Legal Notices Actual Cost
Security Actual Cost
Computer Support $106.00/hr
Materials Actual Cost
Copy Charges Per Code/Resolution
Postage Actual Cost
County Counsel $112.00/hr
Accounting $56.57/hr

There is also an automatic manual recount established by Election Code section 15360.  By law, a random sample of ballots from every election must be recounted manually to verify the computer count.  A minimum of one percent of all votes cast is included in the process.  This must occur before the election is certified.  The automatic manual recount is open to the public.  A court explained it like this:

“1 percent manual tally” is a procedure used in California to test whether there are any discrepancies between the electronic record generated by a voting machine and what is essentially a manual audit of that electronic record. Essentially, after each election, the “official conducting the election” is to conduct a “public manual tally of the ballots tabulated” by any voting machines “cast in 1 percent of the precincts chosen at random by the elections official.” (§ 15360.)  Nguyen v. Nguyen (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 1636, 1643.

There are court challenges available after the recount, but since the recount in this case is mere speculation, they will be discussed at a later time.

The information you obtain at this blog is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established by reading or commenting on this blog. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

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