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Plug pulled on Measure S recount
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If Measure S had any hopes of survival through a recount of a very close vote, the life support was pulled and the patient died.

After a day of re-counting votes for the half-cent sales tax measure for roads, Measure S backers called off efforts once it appeared that there would be no avenue for passage.

On Nov. 4 the voters of Stanislaus County rejected the tax. It failed to garner the two-thirds majority needed for passage. Before the recount the measure fell short by 383 votes. Almost 163,000 votes were cast with 103,306 in favor of Measure S and 42,229 opposed, a 66.42 percent to 33.58 percent margin. The measure needed 66.67 percent approval.

The recount was called off Tuesday evening by the Yes on Measure S Committee after it became apparent that nothing was going to be changing with vote tallies. Among those on hand were Stanislaus County Supervisor Jeff Grover.

Very few ballots were challenged. In one case, an absentee ballot was tossed out from a voter registered in Stanislaus County but listing a returning mailing address in Merced County.

The recount for the day cost $5,875, paid for by private donations.

Observers watching the recount said they were impressed with the accuracy of the original election count.

Measure S would have raised an estimated $700 million for road maintenance and road construction projects over 20 years. Ceres was earmarked to receive $27.6 million for local road maintenance. The Service/Mitchell/99 interchange project would have taken a $30 million chunk of the central corridor monies of $350 million.

Local officials appear to leery of attempting a third local road tax measure any time soon. They cite the current economic recession. However, there may be a temptation to try again since there was greater acceptance of Measure S than the also failed Measure K. In November 2006, voters rejected Measure K, a 30-year tax hike plan. It received 58 percent approval, falling short of the 66 percent plus one vote for passage.