The Bottom Line: What made Steve Pappas think that there was something wrong with the election?
Jeff Lake: We filed a petition because when Steve saw the certified election results, he saw some severe anomalies. One was that if you take a look at the voting percentages throughout the county, he did very well in the north, which was expected, and he did very well everywhere else except for the 18 precincts around UCSB and Isla Vista. The other thing he noted when he got the election results back was that there were precincts in those 18 that had 130 percent turnout, 105 percent turnout, and high 90’s everywhere. The question becomes how did you get all these people to vote? We did two things: I subpoenaed the records from the registrar of voters, and we subpoenaed the records from UCSB because we wanted to make sure that they matched. We asked for what registration information they have from registration drives conducted at UCSB. Steve wanted to look at the registrar’s documents. His team went down there and looked through about 600 registration cards. They started to notice some patters. The big ones were that thousands were turned in on October 20 or shortly before the 20th. Many of them were kept for more than three days at the registration drive. That is a violation of election code 2138. The other thing was that if you assist someone filling out a card or if you keep it for someone, you are supposed to write your name and the date so you can be contacted if there is something wrong with the card. Many of them were blank, just flat blank. We found cards that clearly were forged. We are going to have a handwriting expert at trial to compare signatures to see who was forging registration cards and who was committing perjury. It was obvious that this sort of thing was going on. There were cards where the birth date was blank. There were cards where the signature was blank. So from UCSB we asked for the registration information so we knew what was going on with the registration drives, and we asked from the students four things: we wanted to know their name, their address, their date of birth, and their citizenship. The reason for that is they are all requirements under Article 2 of the Constitution to be qualified to vote.
TBL: If there were illegalities committed, who is to blame?
JL: I get asked that question a lot. The last thing we want to do is disenfranchise voters. It doesn’t matter what party you support or what race it is, voting is important. You want to encourage people to vote, you want to register them to vote, particularly young people. On the other hand, we are saying that the preservation of the system and protection of the voters who did register correctly and did vote correctly is more important than the results of any one election. So to say who is to blame, you have to look issue by issue.
TBL: Many students see this contest as Steve Pappas trying to steal the election.Â What can you say to students who think that?
JL: If you registered properly and you voted properly, you should want us to do this because we are protecting your vote. If you knew that someone was cheating, if you knew that that there were people who were filling out cards for other people, and if you knew that there were people who were making up information, then you need to come forward and make sure that does not happen again. The people who are being hurt are the people who did it right. The people who did it right, we are trying to support. We know that there were illegal votes cast. And the people who did it know it too. As long as there are elections, there are going to be people who are out there trying to win whether they follow the rules or not. I don’t want to see that happen in Santa Barbara, I don’t want to see that happen in California, I don’t want to see that happen in America. All we can do is take it one case, one registration, one vote at a time. This is not Steve trying to steal an election on technicalities. This is trying to preserve the system because we know that there was something that was going on here. It involves the students who were cheating, it involves the people who were running the voter registration drives, it involves the registrars office if they were making mistakes or turned a blind eye. That is why we are looking at it.