Viewers Guide— Salas v. Vargas Recount Starts next Monday (July 19th) in Kearny mesa
Everything the public knows about Recounts is Wrong.
There is almost no chance of a missed precinct or a math error erasing any part of Juan Vargas’ 22-vote lead over Mary Salas in Senate district 40. The recount will go through the motions, but no one expects to find that kind of flub.
No, sportsfans, The Real Game involves votes that were Not Counted at all ! They are mail-in and Provisional ballots which were disqualified by Registrar of Voters’ staff owing to apparent errors by those would-be voters.
Sample mistakes: (1) the Voter has moved and did not re-register at their new address (2) the signature on the mail-in envelope does not match the signature on file with the voter registration (3) the Mail-in envelope contained the ballots of two or more people. And there are many more such mistakes.
The Salas Forces will likely try to get some of the DQ’d ballots reinstated and counted. The smart approach is to first pursue those in pro-Salas areas… like Chula Vista where she was a city council member through 2006.
If, hypothetically, she can get 75 Chula Vista DQ’d ballots reinstated, and when those envelopes are opened, they break 43 to 32 for Salas…. That is a Net Gain of 11 votes for Salas… and Juan Vargas’ district-wide lead would be cut in half by Chula Vista alone.
As each DQ’d ballot is examined, the Vargas and Salas reps. will have a chance to view it and to make their case to Registrar of Voters’ executives, who will then make a decision.
Further, each side can keep a record of decisions, and that record could be employed in a future “Election Contest” case in Superior Court. That would put a Judge in the position of reviewing the Registrar’s rulings on individual ballots.
Yes, this has actually happened, most recently in the Orange County supervisorial race between Trung Nguyen and Janet Nguyen. Janet Nguyen won in court, after a long legal battle, by 3 votes in 2007!
Will that happen? To a considerable extent that may depend on the ability of Mary Salas’ supporters to raise funds to pay for expert attorneys. She remains an influential State Assembly member for another 5 months, and has stalwart support among most public employee unions and party activists.
So, the classic Vargas v. Salas battle may still have many chapters yet to be written!
[Final point: the individual Registrar employees who set aside the DQ'd ballots owing to fatal mistakes, are overwhelmingly non-political folks with no axe to grind. They are given guidelines based on the state Election Code, and then, in the famous words often applied to Baseball Umpires, "They Call Them like they see Them." ]