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Lawsuits filed over county's primary ballot-counting

"Not that we're trying to get Sanders to a win, though I certainly wouldn't mind."

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders

Complaints over conduct by the county registrar's office in the wake of the June primaries held earlier this month continues, with lawsuits now pending at both the county and state levels.

"The registrar wants to change their approach. They were sampling the mail ballots and provisional ballots by batches," Citizens Oversight Projects organizer Ray Lutz told the Reader as protesters gathered outside the registrar's office in Clairemont Mesa on Tuesday (June 28). "But they were leaving out all the vote-by-mail ballots that didn't come in before election day and all the provisionals, which amounts to nearly 300,000 votes.

"We heard later, after we filed our lawsuit, that they were going to do sampling by precincts. The trouble with that is that they know in advance what the precincts are when choosing them. So these could be manipulated to make sure that the count matches. This is what [county registrar Michael] Vu was caught doing in Ohio, basically stuffing the batch box so these one percent tallies would match the initial counts."

The first suit, set for a preliminary hearing July 6, asks Vu's office to include all late mail (often delivered to polls on election day, a permissible practice) and provisional ballots, estimated to comprise nearly 300,000 of the 700,000 total ballots cast, and to include them in any random sampling.

"We want a clean audit of this election, particularly since so many of these ballots are potentially from Bernie Sanders voters that were given provisional ballots that should have been included in the main set," Lutz continues. "Not that we're trying to get Sanders to a win, though I certainly wouldn't mind, but we're trying to ensure a clean election."

The registrar has until July 7 to certify all election results, though Vu could choose to issue that certification early, potentially before a judge hears the Citizens' Oversight arguments in court.

"It's not going to go away just because he certifies early, because this case is about more than just this election," vowed Lutz. "This tally is conducted every single election, in every single county."

Meanwhile, the group filed a new legal action Tuesday, wherein San Francisco area-based lawyer William M. Simpich will appeal to California's secretary of state.

"What we're trying to do is get the secretary of state to review everything — a report on all of the provisionals, and a cleanup of one percent manual tallies statewide," Lutz concluded.

No trial date has been set for the latest challenge, nor is it clear at this point what would happen to the results of existing election certifications should the plaintiffs prevail.

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Bernie Sanders
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Complaints over conduct by the county registrar's office in the wake of the June primaries held earlier this month continues, with lawsuits now pending at both the county and state levels.

"The registrar wants to change their approach. They were sampling the mail ballots and provisional ballots by batches," Citizens Oversight Projects organizer Ray Lutz told the Reader as protesters gathered outside the registrar's office in Clairemont Mesa on Tuesday (June 28). "But they were leaving out all the vote-by-mail ballots that didn't come in before election day and all the provisionals, which amounts to nearly 300,000 votes.

"We heard later, after we filed our lawsuit, that they were going to do sampling by precincts. The trouble with that is that they know in advance what the precincts are when choosing them. So these could be manipulated to make sure that the count matches. This is what [county registrar Michael] Vu was caught doing in Ohio, basically stuffing the batch box so these one percent tallies would match the initial counts."

The first suit, set for a preliminary hearing July 6, asks Vu's office to include all late mail (often delivered to polls on election day, a permissible practice) and provisional ballots, estimated to comprise nearly 300,000 of the 700,000 total ballots cast, and to include them in any random sampling.

"We want a clean audit of this election, particularly since so many of these ballots are potentially from Bernie Sanders voters that were given provisional ballots that should have been included in the main set," Lutz continues. "Not that we're trying to get Sanders to a win, though I certainly wouldn't mind, but we're trying to ensure a clean election."

The registrar has until July 7 to certify all election results, though Vu could choose to issue that certification early, potentially before a judge hears the Citizens' Oversight arguments in court.

"It's not going to go away just because he certifies early, because this case is about more than just this election," vowed Lutz. "This tally is conducted every single election, in every single county."

Meanwhile, the group filed a new legal action Tuesday, wherein San Francisco area-based lawyer William M. Simpich will appeal to California's secretary of state.

"What we're trying to do is get the secretary of state to review everything — a report on all of the provisionals, and a cleanup of one percent manual tallies statewide," Lutz concluded.

No trial date has been set for the latest challenge, nor is it clear at this point what would happen to the results of existing election certifications should the plaintiffs prevail.

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