OAKLAND calif., - Members of the Oakland chapter of the NAACP want the city and county to pay for a recount in the most recent mayor’s race.
They said some voters were confused by the city’s ranked-choice system and that taxpayers should foot the bill for a recount
Recalls cost $21,000. Allie Whitehurst with the NAACP said their group shouldn’t have to pay for it.
She said she spoke with the registrar of voters requesting a recall but since they didn’t put up the cash last week, they forfeited their chance.
The NAACP supported city councilman Loren Taylor who was initially leading in first choice votes but lost by 677 votes after the ranked choice ballots were tabulated.
Seneca Scott is a member of the NAACP and was a candidate for mayor who didn’t make it past the third round of vote tabulations. He blasted the city’s election system at Tuesday's news conference.
"Our black people are being disenfranchised and intentionally misled and our votes are being suppressed," Scott said.
Scott pointed to the 3,093 over votes in the election -- ballots that were not counted because voters selected too many candidates. He said those are a sign voters didn’t understand how to fill out their ballots.
"These are our neighbors who tried to vote in this election in good faith and do not have their vote counted," he said.
But experts in ranked choice voting say it does the opposite of what detractors claim
"All of this data that we have shows that it’s actually is better for democracy and better for empowering people to have ranked choice voting than to have runoff voting or to have one round winner take all," said Melissa Michelson, a political science professor at Menlo College.
Michelson said people can get suspicious about ranked choice voting because they might not understand how votes are being counted
"We’re used to making lists so all you're doing is making a list. Here’s my top candidate. My second. My third. I don’t think that’s confusing at all," she said. "But the confusion is this part behinds the scenes."
Officials with the city of Oakland and Alameda County did not say if they would be paying for a recount.
Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky.