California Extends Deadline for Counting Fire Tax Votes

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Californians will have to wait a little longer to learn whether they’ll be paying higher taxes to prepare for future wildfires.

The deadline for counting ballots in California fire tax races has been extended by 21 days to help county employees maintain social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, according to an executive order signed late Friday by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D). The previous deadline for reporting final results to the state had been April 3.

Most of the ballots cast in the March 3 election were submitted by mail.

Voters statewide were considering general obligation bonds, parcel taxes, and sales taxes proposed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for firefighting operations, enhanced brush clearing, new facilities and equipment, and staff.

A 6-cent-per-square-foot tax proposed in Los Angeles County sought to raise $134 million annually. San Francisco voters were deciding on a $628.5 million bond measure for its emergency firefighting water system.

More than 313,000 votes still had to be counted statewide as of Friday afternoon, according to state elections data.

See also: California Must Wait For Fire Tax Results

To contact the reporters on this story: Jennifer Kay in Miami at; Joyce E. Cutler in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at

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