San Jose Tax Counting Every Vote

November 18, 2008

San Jose, California’s Measure B went before voters earlier this month, proposing a 1/8-cent sales tax increase to fund operations of a proposed extension of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. On the day after the election, though, it looked like Measure B would fall just short with only 66.3% of the vote.

Counting of absentee and provisional ballots has continued, and that percentage has slowly inched up. It looks like many of these ballots split 70-30 for the tax, and today the running total crossed the two-thirds threshold, 407,932 to 203,954. That’s only 8 votes above the two-thirds requirement threshold. 9800 ballots still need to be counted.

For the past few days when it looked like the tax had failed, news articles and op-eds generally talked about how proponents just hadn’t made a compelling enough case. Discussions began about a scaled down project that the public might approve. There’s nothing inherently magical about 50%-plus-one, and Californians seem to treat their supermajority requirement as just another hurdle that taxes must survive before they can be imposed.

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