LONG BEACH : Candidate Who Lost by One Vote to Ask to View Ballots

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A Latino candidate whose narrow election to the Long Beach City Council was overturned after a recount said Friday that she will seek a court order to view questionable ballots that led to her one-vote loss.

Tonia Reyes Uranga was one of the first two Latinos elected to the nine-member council this month, but her seven-vote margin over contractor Mike Donelon vanished during a recount Wednesday when the city clerk’s office discovered several uncounted ballots. In the end, Donelon beat Uranga by one vote, 2,932 to 2,931.

Uranga’s attorney, Fredric D. Woocher, said he plans to file a request with the Los Angeles County Superior Court to force the city to turn over the ballots. Woocher said Uranga might ask the court to order a complete recount.


Long Beach City Atty. John R. Calhoun said election codes prohibit the city from releasing election materials to the public. “There are laws to protect the sanctity of these records, and we’re doing what the law says shall be done,” Calhoun said.

City Clerk Shelba Powell was on vacation Friday and unavailable for comment. Deputy City Clerk Bill Joder said city staff were examining the results of the vote to find out what went wrong. “We’re trying to determine if it was . . . human error,” Joder said. “God, I hope it was a machine error.”