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Politics & Policy

After a school board election was thrown into turmoil, Oakland’s razor-thin mayor’s race is getting a recount

Former Oakland Councilmember Loren Taylor (left) and Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao (right) | Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images; Camille Cohen/The Standard

Three days after newly elected mayor Sheng Thao’s inauguration, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a recount of the Oakland mayor’s race and other races from the Nov. 8 elections.

Supervisor Keith Carson proposed the recount “in order to enhance transparency and accountability regarding the ranked-choice voting results,” the supervisor wrote in his proposal.

In December, the county Registrar’s Office revealed it had miscounted ballots in a different election, handing Nick Resnick a seat on the Oakland Unified School District board. According to the office, Mike Hutchinson is the actual winner.

In light of that turn of events, the mayor’s race has garnered renewed attention. Critics cited widespread confusion surrounding the use of rank-choice voting, a high number of disqualified votes and the slim margin of just 677 votes between Sheng Thao and second-place mayoral candidate Loren Taylor.

Oakland’s NAACP chapter officially supported calls for a mayoral recount, citing that long list of questionable factors.

Despite its error in the school board race, the Registrar’s Office rejected the NAACP’s request because the organization and others had not gathered the $21,000 per day that would fund the recount.

Carson’s proposal that an independent third party conduct the recount changes means that the fees for the recount will now come out of the city registrar’s budget.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has also decided to create the Alameda County Elections Oversight Committee, which will work to increase transparency in the county’s elections.