San Clemente: Hotel Bed Tax Hike Measure Losing by 8 Votes

It seems that each election cycle in Orange County there is a super-close ballot contest that drives home the cliche “Every vote matters.”

While there were several close elections in OC this November, the prize for closest goes to Measure OO, the San Clemente ballot measure that proposed increasing the city’s transient occupancy tax (TOT) – colloquially known as a “bed tax” from 10% to 13%.

The “yes” vote had been leading until Wednesday, when the “no” side took a 5 vote lead – which increased to an 8 vote lead after yesterday’s update.

Measure OO would have also extended the bed tax to short term rentals – which is an odd step given the current council majority’s quest to ban short-term vacation rentals in their vacation tourism-dependent city. It would also empower the City Council to repeal or “refine” the TOT without voter approval; extended it or increasing it again with necessitate voter approval.

On Monday, the “yes” side was ahead by 17 votes, but the ballots have been breaking more than 2-1 for the “No” side all week.

Yesterday’s update would seem to put the final nail in Measure OO’s coffin. OC Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley todl OC Daily that he shows zero San Clemente ballots left to count, with the caveat that damaged ballots and final quality-control checks could possibly turn up additional San Clemente ballots.  He said his department should be finished with this operation today.

How Many Ballots Left To Count?
ROV Neal Kelley has told OC Daily he plans to certify the election by December 6. According to the ROV website, there are:

  • 92 vote-by-mail ballots
  • 63 vote-by-mail ballots returned at the polls
  • 11,287 provisional ballots.

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