Push for hand recount in Lincoln legislative race could be dismissed on technicality

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A Nebraska legislative candidate appeared Tuesday morning in Lancaster County District Court, asking for the state to recount ballots by hand. 

Russ Barger, a candidate for the District 26 seat in northeast Lincoln, sued Secretary of State Bob Evnen to force a hand recount in the race. 

His opponent, George Dungan, won by 224 votes, which is over the margin needed to require an automatic recount. 

The lawsuit comes after Evnen denied his request for a hand recount.

Evnen said a recount would be done by a vote-counting device like the ones used on Election Day. 

After the court hearing, the media asked Barger if he trusted how Evnen conducted the election. 

“I made no allegations to that effect,” he said. “I just want the votes counted again.”

Barger, who didn’t want to go on camera, said Evnen was in a tough position.

“The secretary of state needed to see what the court would say, if there is some ambiguity as of these two statutes,” he said. “He would look very partisan if he would have granted (the hand recount) immediately.” 

Berger declined to say whether he believes there were problems with the vote.   

Dungan said he believes that Nebraska’s elections are secure. 

“I have total confidence that no matter what the outcome of all this is, I would be the senator elect for LB 26,” he said.

Dungan said he is concerned that this case will set a precedent “where anybody who has any issue with any election outcome can come in and claim a hand recount has to happen.”

“And that’s just going to start logistical problems,” he said. “It’s going to start a nightmare.”

The state filed a motion to dismiss the case on a technicality: One of Barger’s key filings was not notarized. 

One of Barger’s key filings was signed electronically but was not notarized. 

Barger is worried that if the case is dismissed, he won’t be able to refile. 

Judge Kevin McManaman said he would take the state’s motion to dismiss under advisement.

A decision is expected soon.

Categories: Election News, Lancaster, News, Top Stories