The counting and recounting is over, and the legal challenge to the election of Chula Vista City Councilman John McCann that ended this week didn’t change the outcome — McCann won the seat by an incredibly narrow margin of two votes. But the implications of the race, and how a handful of provisional ballots were handled by election officials, may extend far beyond Chula Vista, and McCann’s defeat of challenger Steve Padilla. The legal challenge filed by attorney and Padilla supporter John Moot failed when San Diego Superior Court judge Eddie Sturgeon ruled county Registrar of Voters acted properly when he excluded a handful of votes.
The legal fight, however revealed that counties around the state don’t all count certain provisional ballots the same way.
That difference could mean that voters are being treated differently in different parts of the state — a red flag in election law that raises the spectre that equal protection rights of voters are being violated.
That discrepancy could affect statewide races, such as those for governor or Attorney General, as well as local races that cross county lines, such as those for state legislature or Congress.