CA 50 Plaintiffs Petition California Supreme Court for Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2007
Contact Linda A. Poniktera - 619.987.7200
Plaintiffs Petition California Supreme Court
On Ruling In California’s 50th District Election Contest


Petition Seeks To Confirm Courts' Jurisdiction Over Elections And Continuing Importance Of Voting Rights

San Diego, CA April 27, 2007 –
In a press conference today near the San Diego Convention Center, the nonprofit legal firm Psephos announced that plaintiffs Gail Jacobson and Lillian Ritt have petitioned the California Supreme Court regarding the Jacobson v. Bilbray election contest requesting discovery and a recount of the vote in the June 2006 special election in California’s 50th Congressional District. The election was terminated via a premature swearing-in only 7 days after the June 6, 2006 election although the Congressional Record stated that 68,500 votes were still uncounted and the election was not yet completed or certified.

In March 2007 the Court of Appeal ruled that it need not decide this “interesting case” because the June 2006 election in California's 50th District was moot now that the 109th Congress had ended. However, unless democracy is dead and the termination of elections before the first count is completed is of no concern, the case is clearly not moot. Mootness is a refusal to decide, which in effect ignores the voting rights of the plaintiffs and all 50th Congressional District voters and abdicates the Court's necessary jurisdiction to police elections to Congress.

In response to citizen outrage concerning the Court's stunning decision, attorneys Paul Lehto and Ken Simpkins formed Psephos, a nonprofit committed to helping resolve voter issues such as the restriction of citizen oversight and lack of public control of their own elections, the lack of transparency in elections, and the use of electronic voting machines that enable secret election counts via "trade secret" software.

Citing the Declaration of Independence Lehto stated that, "The government's number one job is to protect and secure citizens' rights. The number-one right of citizens is the inalienable right to `toss the rascals out' when circumstances dictate. But this number-one inalienable right cannot be secured to the public by the government, as it is required to do, when the government is counting votes secretly and holding nontransparent elections generally, and then swearing someone in before the election is over and saying this also completely prevents even a post-election look at the evidence of the election. They are trying awfully hard to hide the facts of vote counting from these plaintiffs, their lawyers who have published studies on electronic elections before, and from the public generally. Why?"

Notably, the Jacobson v. Bilbray case has attracted international attention for highlighting the problem of secret vote counting and election termination. Although this is a concern for all elections, this one in particular has suspicious results that are highlighted in the election contest complaint. This case is the only case cited in the official OSCE/ODIHR international election observers' report for the 2006 Election in the USA (see Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe report at http://www.osce.org/documents/odihr/2007/03/23567_en.pdf , page 32). As such, it is recognized as a significant case for democracy worldwide, testing the limits of what the government can do, such as swearing in, to defeat the election rights of voters and the public.

Background On Petition For Review
The Petition for Review in the Jacobson v Bilbray case raises a fundamental question for our country: Can the congress swear in a purported winner of an election thinking there are 68,500 uncounted votes in the first count of votes, and then later claim via Representative Bilbray's arguments at trial and on appeal that the state of California and the voters in the 50th Congressional District don't have any power or say to do anything about the election except to ask the House of "Representatives" to reverse their own decision?

On March 20, 2007, the Court of Appeal denied a request for discovery and a recount of the vote in the June 2006 special election in California's Fiftieth Congressional District, for the balance of about 6 months left in the 109th Congress. After plaintiffs requested oral argument in the Court of Appeals to be no later than October 23, the court of appeals scheduled the oral argument for weeks after the election and ultimately found the case "moot" because of the end of the 109th Congress in early January, meaning that there was no longer a live controversy about votes being counted or not counted and the effect of an early swearing in given the term in Congress had expired. If true, given the length of appeals, it would appear that short or special term elections are free for the stealing or at least not something to be very careful about since they cannot be reviewed in time.

According to the arguments of Congressman Brian Bilbray at the trial court and on appeal, the election was legally terminated in its jurisdiction or power to change anything concerning the true results of it via a premature swearing-in of Bilbray only 7 days after the election, even though the Congressional Record of information presented on the date of the swearing-in stated that 68,500 votes were still uncounted and the election was not yet completed or certified.

About Psephos
Psephos is a nonprofit firm whose services support educational, policy development and litigation efforts related to election integrity, constitutional law, and the law and values of democracy. As a nonpartisan organization, Psephos does not support political parties but defends the rights that make political parties possible. The Psephos mission is to preserve the rights of the people of the United States to observe and to question and actively participate in vote counting and all other aspects of their elections. Formed in April 2007, Psephos is based in San Diego, California.

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