Nebraska 26th Legislative District Election Recount Challenge
Barger v. Evnen
Petition filed by Russ Barger, the Republican candidate for Nebraska’s 26th Legislative District, against Nebraska Secretary of State Robert Evnen (R) and the Lancaster County, Nebraska election commissioner seeking a court order to compel the defendants to “conduct a hand recount of the ballots cast for said Legislative office” for the Nov. 8, 2022 election. Barger alleges that the vote count margin between him and his opponent is 244 votes and that he filed a petition for a recount on Dec. 2, 2022. Barger asserts that in his Dec. 2 petition, he specifically requested a “hand recount” of ballots and not a “machine-based tabulator or vote counting devices recount.” On Dec. 6, the Nebraska secretary of state denied this request for a hand recount and declared that he instead intended to proceed with a machine-based tabulator recount. The petitioner argues that although Nebraska law requires recounts to be conducted in the same method in which ballots were counted on Election Day — in this case using a tabulator machine — he is nevertheless entitled to a hand recount. The petitioners ask the court to issue a writ of mandamus (a court order compelling a party to take a certain action) “compelling and requiring the Respondents to conduct a hand recount of the November 8, 2022 election for the District 26 office of the Legislature.” On Dec. 15, a judge denied the plaintiff’s requested relief and dismissed the lawsuit.