FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The recount efforts have begun in California’s 16th Senate District race between Republican David Shepard and Democrat Melissa Hurtado.

Shepard requested the recount and cited “procedural irregularities” that his campaign observed after he lost to Hurtado by only 20 votes.

Tuesday was day one for the recount in Fresno County, which election workers utilized to find ballots from the part of the district in the county before they could even begin their recount.

Fresno County is one of the four that up State Senate District 16; along with Tulare, Kern, and Kings counties.

Fresno County started Tuesday, Kern will begin on Wednesday, and Kings County officials tell us their workers will begin after the holiday weekend on December 27.

Tulare was the first to start the process.

“It’s part of the job and it’s part of the process where anyone has this opportunity to make this request,” said James Kus, Fresno County Clerk & Registrar of Voters.

David Shepard was unavailable Tuesday for an interview, this past week he said after he requested the recount, that he had concerns over uncounted ballots and disagreements over the way votes were processed.

“I think that it’s only fair that um you know, with a margin this tight that we do our due diligence, and we make sure that the will of the people is conveyed via the November 8th election,” he said.

Melissa Hurtado, who has already been sworn in, provided a statement Tuesday. 

She cited the right of anyone to request a recount, but stated, “My campaign does not anticipate the recount changing the outcome of my election as State Senator in Senate District 16.”

Officials in Fresno and Tulare counties Tuesday said they are very confident votes were tallied correctly the first time around.

“When we get to actually counting the ballots, I don’t believe that there’s gonna be any discrepancies,” said Michelle Baldwin, Tulare County Registrar of Voters.

“We do a 1% manual tally, a test audit of our machines after every election. In Fresno County, since going to our new voting system in 2020, those machines have been perfect,” said James Kus.

State law states that the requestor is responsible for paying for the recount and that they will be reimbursed if the recount overturns the election.

In Fresno County, officials are estimating it could cost around $15,000.

In Kings, which will count by hand, officials estimate it will cost over $62,000.

Kern and Tulare counties did not provide estimates for the total cost.

It has not been reported whether David Shepard has picked up any votes since he asked for a recount.

Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties will likely conduct that recount, using machines.

James Kus said that count could take four to five days, while Kern and Tulare did not provide exact dates.

In Kings County, because of the hand count, officials expect the recount to be complete in 14 days.

That does not include holidays or weekends.

As a result, District 16 may have to wait some time before they get the final results.