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2020 Election Results: Measure M tax now trailing at 48%

A screenshot from the Sacramento County Elections website shows the latest vote count for Measure M, as of Nov. 10, 2020.

Sentinel staff report–
Following the latest vote count update released on Tuesday, Measure M is now trailing by nearly 1,000 votes.

The tax measure, which would have increased the sales tax by 1% to boost the city’s struggling General Fund by an estimated $12 million per year, initially was poised to pass on election night with 51% of the vote. However, as votes continued to be counted, the measure fell behind.

A total of 29,967 votes have been counted so far, with 15,469 cast against Measure M and 14,498 in support of the measure. Polling presented by the city from EMC Research initially showed the measure would pass easily, with up to 71% support.

No on Measure M spokesman Bruce Lee told The Sentinel on Wednesday that his campaign is “delighted in the results.” He said ballots mailed in early were expected to favor Measure M due to his campaign getting off to a slow start. Advertising, signage and mailers for the opposition largely didn’t appear until mid-October.

The Yes on M campaign did not respond to an email request for a statement sent on Tuesday, but the campaign has not conceded. Lee said the measure had been “soundly defeated,” although thousands more votes have yet to be counted, including provisional ballots cast on Election Day and ballots mailed in on or close to November 3.

Measure M sought to add a one-cent-per-dollar sales tax, bringing the sales tax rate in Citrus Heights to 8.75%. If the measure fails, the tax rate will remain at 7.75%, but city leaders have said “serious cuts” will have to be made to grapple with looming budget deficits.

During the campaign, Measure M proponents said the tax was needed to raise an estimated $12 million annually to cover services like escalating road repair costs and public safety, while opponents claimed the city had mismanaged its current funds and said the wording of the tax measure would allow funds to be spent on anything.

According to Sacramento County election officials, a total of 544,000 ballots have been counted countywide, with approximately 171,000 still remaining to be counted — meaning around 75% of ballots have been counted.

Want to watch the vote counting process in Sacramento County? Here’s how.

Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Courtney Bailey-Kanelos told The Sentinel last week that her office hopes to conclude the count before Thanksgiving Day. She said mail-in ballots can be received up to 17 days after the election, as long as they were post-marked by Nov. 3. Provisional ballots will be last to be counted.

The next vote count update will be released on Friday, Nov. 13, by 4 p.m.

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