Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Your Vote Doesn't Count

Ok. This is a little out of date, but I still wanted to comment on it. Last summer there was a lawsuit here in North County San Diego regarding the special runoff election for Duke Cunningham's disgraced seat. The contest was between Democrat Francine Busby, a member of the Cardiff School Board, and Brian Bilbray, an immigration and gambling lobbyist with ties to Jack Abramoff. Polls leading up to the election showed Busby with a small lead, but one that was within the margin of error...
Bilbray ended being declared the winner by the various organizations that call these things. On the say so of the Republican Secretary of State, Bilbray was whisked away to DC and sworn in before the election was certified. Some constituents of the 50th district wanted a hand recount and were given an unreasonable price tag ($150,000) by the Republican election commissioner. You see where this is going?

Lacking other alternatives, the constituents sued the San Diego commissioner and Bilbray in an attempt to get a hand recount. Their basis for the suit included the following points:

  • Some polls showed Busby up 7% just before the election
  • The outcome was close (Bilbray 49.57% , Busby 45.02% according to the Registrar’s certified result)
  • Some absentee ballots were lumped into mega-precincts that listed total ballot numbers that were “thousands of percentages” above the total number of voters
  • Diebold voting machines (the easily hackable ones) were sent home with precinct workers up to 2 WEEKS before the election

As you can guess from the title of this article, they lost. That isn't the troubling part. The troubling part is the precedent set by the text of the ruling. You can read the summary in the North County Times or Sign On San Diego, but I'll give you the high points.

Once Bilbray was sworn in, the state no longer had jurisdiction. This conclusion arose from Article 1, section 5 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that each House is responsible for the elections of its own members. Bilbray asserted, throguh his attorney, that only the House can now challenge the election. Of course, if you accept the assertion that once he was sworn in, the state had no jurisdiction to challenge, then you also have to logically conclude that the state had no jurisdiction to certify the election. So, it never actually happened. Ergo, your vote does not count. Welcom to George Bush's Amerika. Enjoy your stay.