In what I believe is the closest Congressional race in the country, Jerry McNerney held a 121 vote lead as of Wednesday morning. Absentees counted in Alameda and Santa Clara counties have increased his margin to 568 as of this morning, but those counties were his strongest ones. Now Harmer wants to challenge the signatures (and stop the counting of) of mail in ballots when the voter is not there to respond.
Now Harmer has filed a lawsuit against the Contra Costa County election officials claiming the right to challenge the signatures on absentee ballots, even as those voters are not present to respond.
Congressional District 11 GOP nominee David Harmer will seek a court order in Superior Court in Martinez this afternoon to stop the vote-by-mail signature verification process in Contra Costa County.
Harmer, who ran against incumbent Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney on Tuesday, says his team should be allowed to challenge the signatures on vote-by-mail ballots.
Contra Costa Election Clerk Steve Weir disagrees. He says the county's written procedures and guidelines clearly state that observers may challenge the process of counting ballots but not individual signatures.
Challenges to a specific voter's right to cast a ballot must be made through a pollworker at the polls or through a challenge of a voter who has requested a vote-by-mail ballot, Weir said. This allows the voter to respond to a challenge of his or her right to cast a ballot.
"While Harmer has claimed irregularities, not one instance has been presented to us," Weir said.
Harmer ran best in early voting, but as election day votes were counted, McNerney slowly caught up. Many (apparently including Harmer's campaign) believe that late absentees will favor McNerney.
In Contra Costa County, the ballots at issue are those that were mailed but not received by last Friday, those delivered to the polls on Tuesday, and provisional ballots. I understand that there are well over 10,000 ballots. There is a hearing today on a TRO.
I have heard nothing from San Jaoquin County where over have of the voters are, but I am suspicious that the far-right is out in force to stop a full and fair count. Florida 2000 anyone?