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SAN FRANCISCO -- June 5 has come and gone, and the future of Proposition 29 is still in question. As it stands now, less than 17,000 votes separate the nays from the yeas.
According to the election results posted on California Secretary of State Debra Bowen's website, as of June 19 the tally on Proposition 29 stands at 2,476,418 no votes (or 50.2 percent) versus 2,459,491 yes votes (or 49.8 percent).
The ballot question would raise the cigarette state excise tax $1 per pack -- to $1.87 -- and an equivalent tax increase on other tobacco products that would generate between $700 and $800 million annually, as CSNews Online previously reported.
Although two weeks have passed since voters headed to the polls, there are still 400,000 ballots to check and count and final results may not be certain until early July, Contra Costa County Clerk Steve Weir told CBS San Francisco. "The state gives us 28 days to totally certify an election. That's not just counting ballots. That's accounting for every ballot printed, cast, spoiled and not cast. It's an accounting process you want us to go through," Weir said.
According to the news report, the June primary was the first time that a majority of California ballots were cast by mail. As a result, registrars have to hand-check every single one of those signatures to make sure they're legitimate. They also need to make sure absentee voters didn't also vote at a polling place.