MARTINEZ (KCBS) – Congressional election politics spilled into a Martinez courtroom on Monday, where questions were raised about the process for verifying ballot signatures in the 11th Congressional District race.

The race between incumbent Jerry McNerney and Republican challenger David Harmer remains too close to call.

Attorney Charles Bell Jr., representing Harmer, was asking for greater observer access during the counting of mail-in and provisional ballots.

KCBS’ Dave Padilla Reports:

“With the assistance of the judge, we’ve vindicated the right of access,” he said. “Gallery access from way back in the peanut gallery is not sufficient access.”

There is a photo of an observer looking at ballot signatures on a computer screen at the elections office with binoculars.

County Clerk Steve Weir has agreed to set up four stations with two observers at each station, who will have over-the-shoulder access.

“What folks are trying to figure out is what are the logistics and what are the rights of folks to observe versus the right of voters not to be unduly challenged,” said Weir.

He said so far in the process, not one signature has been challenged.

Both candidates have exchanged slim leads in the district race.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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