Group Files Lawsuit Seeking Bilbray-Busby Election Recount

Two voters in the 50th Congressional District filed a lawsuit Monday seeking a recount of paper ballots in the June election between Republican Brian Bilbray and Democrat Francine Busby, won by Bilbray.

The suit alleges that County Registrar of Voters Mikel Haas violated legally mandated procedures during the run-up to the election and during an official voter request for a hand ballot count.

"The election's over. We certified it," Haas said. "We're working on November. As far as we're concerned, it's done."

Haas said he has continually expressed faith in the voting process, including its volunteers.

The lawsuit claims that Haas sent Diebold voting machines on "sleepovers" in the unsecured homes and cars of volunteer poll workers for weeks prior to the election, in violation of state and federal law.

When voter Barbara Gail Jacobsen filed for a recount, Haas said such a move would cost $150,000, but he refused to provide the documents that would need to be filed to request a recount, the suit alleges.

An attorney for the plaintiffs, Paul Lehto, said that because the Diebold machines were conditionally certified by the Secretary of State under stringent security and chain-of-custody conditions to protect against manipulation, the lawsuit asserts that non-compliance with those conditions requires decertification of the election results.

The suit was filed on behalf of Jacobsen and Lillian Ritt.

Lehto said a group called CA-50 is raising money to help cover costs related to the lawsuit.

Bilbray won by about 7,000 votes the seat vacated by convicted Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

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