Barger campaign sues for hand recount in District 26 election

Russ Barger
Russ Barger(Russ Barger)
Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 2:54 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2022 at 2:57 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Russ Barger, who narrowly lost the race for the District 26 seat in the Nebraska Legislature, has filed a lawsuit in Lancaster County District Court demanding a hand recount.

Barger lost to George Dungan III by over one percent of the vote, the threshold for a recount. According to Nebraska Secretary of State data, Dungan received 50.96 percent of the votes and Barger received 49.04 percent.

Even though Barger didn’t meet the threshold for a recount, the Secretary of State’s office was willing to do a recount, just not by hand.

“Secretary Evnen offered to give Russ Barger a recount by machine - the same manner ballots were counted on election day,” the Secretary of State’s office said.

Barger states the Elections Act does not mandate any particular method for the requested recount of this Legislative race. With his filing, Barger asks the court to decide whether a hand recount is allowed.

“The Secretary of State is required to certify the election results by Dec. 20. His interpretation of the relevant statute renders many parts of the statute meaningless,” Barger said. “Clarification of the rights of candidates is important for this race and future races. An election contest lawsuit should not be necessary to secure a hand count. But that will be the only possibility for a hand count, if the court adopts the Secretary of State’s interpretation,” Barger said.

Barger believes he has a right to request a hand recount, and has said he’s willing to pay the extra cost. Barger said this suit is necessary to clarify the existing law.

Legislative District 26 covers about 40,000 residents in northeast Lincoln. The current State Senator representing District 26, Matt Hansen, didn’t seek re-election because he ran for Lancaster County Clerk and subsequently won.

Russ Barger, the Republican candidate for Lincoln's district 26, has asked the Secretary of...
Russ Barger, the Republican candidate for Lincoln's district 26, has asked the Secretary of State for a re-count of votes after losing to Democrat George Dungan.(Station)