Steve Pappas (right) with legal counsel Stanley Green

Paul Wellman (file)

Steve Pappas (right) with legal counsel Stanley Green

Setback for Pappas Election Dispute

Judge Rules in Favor of Some Disputed Registration Cards

Steve Pappas, who lost November’s election for the 3rd District Supervisor seat to Doreen Farr, encountered a big setback in his contest of the election Monday when Judge William McLafferty indicated he would not hear pieces of evidence crucial to Pappas’s case.

Fred Woocher, attorney for Farr, argued effectively in front of McLafferty that registration cards collected by a third party and not submitted to the election’s office within a three-day deadline should still be counted, not invalidated as argued by Pappas attorney Jeff Lake. “It’s a complete waste of time,” McLafferty said of considering that evidence. Woocher said the purpose of the law was to protect the voter, not disqualify them for something that may have occurred after the registration card left their hands.

Judge J. William McLafferty listens to arguments from Fred Woocher, legal council for Doreen Farr
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Judge J. William McLafferty listens to arguments from Fred Woocher, legal council for Doreen Farr

McLafferty also indicated he wouldn’t consider evidence that the third party failed to appropriately fill out a box required. What he will allow, however, is evidence that another box on the registration card - where a registrant indicates that they had been registered at another address - had either not been filled out or been filled out incorrectly or fraudulently on several cards.

Despite McLafferty’s ruling, Lake said there was still plenty of evidence - “We’re talking thousands of votes,” he said - where rules were broken, though he couldn’t say how many were affected.

Pappas lost to Farr by 806 votes out of a total of 35,524. But regardless of the end result, he appears to be confident he is protecting the integrity of elections. “It’s never been about me or her,” he said. “It’s about the process.” The process has come at great expense to both sides, and both Pappas and Farr have sent out fundraising letters in hopes of raising cash to pay for legal bills.

The trial begins next Tuesday in McLafferty’s courtroom. After opening statements, County Registrar Joe Holland will be called to the stand. Depending on his testimony and the evidence presented, witnesses could be called in on a case-by-case basis to determine the legitimacy of their registration and vote.

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