Prop. 72 Flicker Was Only Death Rattle

Times Staff Writer

After being briefly resuscitated by a computer error, a statewide proposition that would have expanded health insurance was declared confidently dead today by state elections officials.

Proposition 72, which would have required companies with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance, had narrowly lost on Nov. 2. It had been presumed deceased until Tuesday night, when Secretary of State Kevin Shelley’s office reported the measure ahead after 17 counties finished counting absentee and provisional ballots.

The change, which gave the measure a 50.5% victory, had heartened advocates of the law, which would have expanded healthcare coverage to 1 million Californians. But elections officials said the results were due to erroneous data sent in by San Diego County.

“It’s not going to go to ‘yes’ again. It’s not going to change,” said Caren Daniels-Meade, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state.

The corrected tally posted today showed Proposition 72 losing by 202,854 votes, with 49.1% of the vote. It was the closest margin of the 16 statewide measures this election.