Man sues county so he can personally recount last year's election votes
Union Tribune (2017-07-30) Joshua Stewart
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More Info: Ballot Access Lawsuit
, Easy Voting
An election integrity activist has launched a campaign to personally recount votes from last year’s presidential primary in San Diego County.
Ray Lutz, the founder of the Citizens Oversight Project, announced Friday that he wants determine if the official results were accurate.
But to take on that task, he has to win a lawsuit he’s filed to gain access to the ballots.
Lutz has previously said that he suspects that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
received more votes in the region than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
, and should have won the Democratic presidential primary. To check if anything illegal happened, he wants access to the county’s reams of old ballots to count votes himself, and has filed a public records lawsuit to get to them.
He said the difference in the vote margins between early vote-by-mail ballots and votes cast at precincts on Election Day was so large that fraud likely occurred in the Democratic contest.
The county has long said that there was no evidence of fraud in the election, and that its processes for counting the votes and for verifying the accuracy of the results are accurate and comply with law.
The first step for Lutz is getting access to the old ballots. The county says state law seals ballots, and they can’t be released to Lutz and other members of the public like other types of records.
“The ballots from the June election have been sealed pursuant to California Elections Code” and law prohibits the ballots to be unsealed, a county lawyer wrote in a letter to Lutz.
If Lutz prevails in his lawsuit, voters’ privacy would not be compromised because identifying details are removed from ballots before they are counted.
Lutz’s claim that Sanders could have become president if the outcome in San Diego County was different is mathematically impossible. Even if every county voter who could participate in the Democratic primary supported Sanders, the Vermont senator still would have still lost California. Even if Sanders had won California, Clinton would have had enough delegates from primaries and caucuses from across the country and support from superdelegates to still win the nomination.
Clinton received 215,655 votes in San Diego County while Sanders received 199,716. Statewide, Clinton received 2,745,302 votes to Sanders’ 2,381,722.
Lutz also announced the Easy Voting Project, a new national effort to increase access to the ballot box that will focus on increasing same-day voter registration, allowing people to sign up and vote on Election Day.
The National Conference of State Legislatures says that 15 states and the District of Columbia already have, or will soon begin same-day voter registration.
California will start offering same-day conditional voting in statewide races next year. Would-be San Diego County voters can register or re-register at the Registrar of Voters Office before they can cast a provisional ballot. Election officials will then verify that the voter was eligible to participate in the election before their ballot is counted.
Voter registration regulations are governed by state law, and it’s unclear how Lutz’s new campaign will try and increase same registration.