Election Contest Filed Demanding Accountability, Decertification and Paper Ballot Count of Busby/Bilbray Election in CA-50

For Immediate Release: July 31, 2006, San Diego / CONTACT: Ilene Proctor PR, (310) 271-5857

Press Conference Set for 10:30am in San Diego

Today, famed election attorney Paul Lehto filed an election contest lawsuit in San Diego County Superior Court demanding a count of all paper ballots in the Busby/Bilbray special election to replace convicted Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham. On the face of the pleading, Lehto, on behalf of voters of CA-50, asserts that they are entitled to a 100% ballot count at a reasonable cost because of massive security violations of federal and state law by election officials.

California state law requires that all votes cast in an election be properly counted and tabulated. In the CA-50 election, however, it cannot be determined whether or not all votes were counted because legally mandated procedures were violated both in the run-up to the election and during the official voter request for a hand ballot count. County Registrar Mikel Haas sent the Diebold voting machines on "sleepovers" in the unsecured homes and cars of volunteer poll workers for weeks prior to the election in violation of federal and state law. When voter Barbara Gail Jacobsen filed for a recount, Haas set an exorbitant price of $150,000 but refused to provide the documents necessary for that count.

"Given the fact that all the voting machines were circulating in the county for at least a week prior to the election, and manipulation of a single machine can rig an election, there is no basis for voters to have confidence in the election results," attorney Lehto said. Indeed, because the Diebold machines used in the election 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 necessarily requires decertification of the election results.

A press conference will take place today on the steps of the San Diego County Superior Court at 10:30 am. Lehto, voters and activists will be on hand to talk about the lawsuit and their plans for further action to ensure compliance with all California election laws.

VelvetRevolution.us, a network of scores of election reform organizations demanding honest and accountable elections, is handling the fundraising for this CA-50 legal challenge and donations are being accepted on its website, www.velvetrevolution.us.