Friday, July 07, 2006

CA-50 Full Recount?

Back in June Democrat Francine Busby lost her bid for convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s seat in California’s 50th congressional district to Virginia Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray. Busby’s wasn’t able to overcome the high Republican registration advantage in the districts and lost by less than 5%, a margin of 7,195 votes.

Shortly after the election, a number of blogs jumped on the bandwagon started by The Brad Blog, attacking the election results because poll workers had been allowed to take Diebold voting machines home to night before the election. The poll workers then delivered the equipment to the polls and set the equipment up before the polls opened.

Considering that most of the votes cast in the district were via paper ballots that were read by optical scanners, I never thought much of the argument that potential tampering with some Diebold touch screen machines might have influenced the election.

Well, according to the North County Times, a 50th district voter has decided that maybe there is something to the election tampering conspiracy theory and has stepped forward to formally request a complete hand recount of the congressional run-off election.
A registered voter living in the 50th Congressional District filed a formal request with the county registrar of voters office late Wednesday asking for a hand recount of all the ballots in the June 6 special election runoff.


In her letter to Registrar Mikel Haas, San Diego resident Barbara Gail Jacobson
said she was making the request because, "there were widespread and profound
breaches of security allowed in the administration of this election."She said that because Haas had permitted some of the voting machines to be taken home by poll workers in the days leading up to the election, "both state and federal certification of the machines were invalidated and rendered null."


On June 29, Haas certified the election results, kicking off a five-day period in which requests could be filed for a recount of the votes. However, due to the holiday, the deadline ended Wednesday.

Registrar of voters spokesman Mike Workman said that county counsel is now reviewing Jacobson's request for a recount, as will registrar Haas upon his return to the office. Once that review has been completed, Haas will discuss with Jacobson the projected costs of conducting the recount ----- a process which can cost the requesting party as much as $2,000 to $3,000 a day, Workman said. He added that depending on how detailed Jacobson wants the recount to be, it could
take several days to complete.

Jacobson said that she and other concerned citizens who are supporting her call for a recount are prepared to pay for it.


In addition to asking for a recount in her letter to the registrar, Jacobson also requested the following:

- the certified statement of the votes cast in the election, broken down by precinct and absentee ballot voting group

- all precinct rosters and voter index lists

- all accepted provisional ballot evelopes

- all accepted absentee ballot envelopes and corresponding application forms

- all returned precinct election packages

- all logs, e-mails, notes or other documentation of any complaints or requests of

- all documentation of the registrar's

Personally, I think this is a rathole down which Democratic Party resources and time will be dumped. If Busby wants to beat Bilbray in November, she needs to focus her resources on communicating with Democrats and independents in the 50th district and finding a way to get them to turn out and vote.