Calif. voters split on tax targeted by Big Tobacco
In this Friday, May 11, 2012 file photo, Cycling legend and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong attends a rally at a news conference at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles in favor of Proposition 29, a measure on the June 2012 California primary election ballot that would add a $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes. The money raised would go to cancer research projects, smoking-reduction programs and tobacco law enforcement. Fabled as a mecca for the health-conscious and fitness-obsessed, California is also one of only a few states that has not hiked its cigarette taxes in the last decade, meaning it is less expensive to light up in Los Angeles and San Francisco than many other places in the country. The tobacco industry wants to keep it that way. It has amassed nearly $50 million to kill an initiative on Tuesday’s primary ballot that is championed by cycling star Lance Armstrong and supported by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has donated $500,000 to its campaign. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) _ It’s still too close to call the California initiative to raise the tax on tobacco products.
As of Wednesday morning, opposition to the increase leads by just over 1 percent, or about 64,000 votes, out of more than 3.8 million votes counted.
But there’s an unknown number of ballots left to be tallied.
In California, even with all precincts reporting, there typically are many late-arriving early voting and absentee ballots not counted until after election day.
These ballots typically comprise up to 20 percent of all votes, meaning potentially hundreds of thousands of votes are still to be counted statewide.
The tobacco industry spent tens of millions of dollars on an ad campaign against imposing an additional $1-per-pack tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research. Cancer survivor Lance Armstrong led the effort to pass the tax hike.