Court Rules Against Voter-Supervised Elections
A RawStory exclusive Interview with Paul Lehto, covering recent election nullification of yet another congressional challenge, this time on the Republican primary ballot in Nevada (the judge favoring congressional candidate and secretary of state Dean Heller of Nevada (R-Sequoia Voting Systems)), and also covering the possible application of the constitutional Art I, sec. 5 “election nullification” arguments overbroadly but successfully applied in California’s 50th Cong. District to the congressional seat recently vacated by Tom DeLay in Texas in order to steal a seat presently slated as a pickup for the Democrats in Congress.
Lehto argues that there MUST BE AND THERE ARE public rights and ability to supervise elections, consistent with his Zogby poll he commission in August 2006 showing 92% support in the public for public witnessing of vote counting and public right to information regarding vote counting. See http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1163
The few critics of Lehto’s position regarding congressional election contests by citizens that have emerged state (in essence) that Lehto is wrong on the law and it simply does not provide citizen rights in elections, and they claim that only congressional candidates can file and only with the Clerk of the House of Representatives, where the House gets to “check and balance” its own exercise of absolute power to swear someone in prematurely, before well over ten thousand ballots are counted and weeks before completion of vote counting and certification. They say the exclusive jurisdiction of the legislative branch must be protected and is protected by the clear language of Art. 1 sec 5.
Lehto’s response: “This ignores the issue of whether the premature swearing was a constitutionally valid act, because if it is, then we need not have elections at all since the power to swear in will trump at any time. Indeed the North County Times quotes the judge as specifically stating “once the House selects its member,” exclusive authority passes to the House. The use of the phrase that Congress “selects” rather than the People “elect” is important, I think, if you’re serious about democracy. See Democracy Denied: Meet the New Boss, at paragraph 1
Furthermore, if my critics were right and the citizens have indeed been left bereft of any meaningful rights in elections, then this case and these arguments need EVEN MORE attention, since the public definitely does not know or expect that their politicians and judges are operating this way. I expect that 92% or more of all Americans will be angry about this kind of premature election nullification where congresspeople are selected by the House instead of elected by the People, and any reduction from that high figure will be from overly partisan folks who take the other side because they like the political party that won. But ultimately, stripped of party labels, all Americans know this is dead wrong, it’s just easier to clarify the law through the Courts than storming the halls of Congress to demand our democracy back.”