Election officials tell judge vote fraud lawsuit is 'frivolous'

Dec. 19, 2022, 7:27 p.m. ·

Attorneys appear before Judge Andrew Jacobsen during a hearing in Hill v. Election Systems
Attorneys appear before Judge Andrew Jacobsen during a hearing in Hill v. Election Systems. (Photo: Bill Kelly, Nebraska Public Media)

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Attorneys for Nebraska election officials across the state asked a Lancaster County District Court Judge to throw out a lawsuit claiming secretive billionaires and political elites controlled recent state and federal elections.

Rick Hill arriving in Lancaster County District Court for his hearing
Rick Hill of Lincoln arrives for a hearing in Lancaster County District Court. (Photo: Bill Kelly, Nebraska Public Media News)

Rick Hill of Lincoln sued Nebraska's Secretary of State, election commissioners in all 93 counties, and a private company, Election Systems & Software of Omaha, claiming they are part of a global plot. In court filings, he claimed they are "secretly corrupting the election process" in the service of "godless vigilantes whose only purpose in life is to serve themselves and evil."

Representing dozens of the county clerks named in the lawsuit, attorney Patrick Guinan requested the court impose sanctions against Hill, which could include him reimbursing local governments for the "hundreds of hours" spent dealing with a "frivolous" lawsuit.

Saying sanctions should be a deterrent used by the court "because, although you have the right to represent yourself and have your day in court, you can't abuse that right, and a simple rant against our political system is simply that.

Hill, representing himself without a lawyer, conceded to the judge that his initial complaint and other court filings "were not well handled."

"My complaint was honestly done on a rant," Hill told the court. "I had no information other than just my feelings" to back up the dozens of allegations he listed.

Hill asked for more time to refine his complaints.

The government attorneys objected. Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Huxoll called his attempt to rework his legal briefs "futile."

District Court Judge Andrew Jacobsen agreed to give Hill three weeks to file a revised brief. After reviewing any additional materials presented by opposing lawyers, the judge will decide if the case should move forward.

Inside the small courtroom, 11 attorneys gathered to oppose Hill.

One after another, the lawyers argued Hill failed to follow the accepted rules of the court in filing his complaint.

Some cited the state law limiting claims of damages against government officials.

Hill asked the court for billions of dollars to compensate for his grievances against the electoral system.

A section of Rick Hill's lawsuit, containing unsubstantiated claims against government officials.
A section of Rick Hill's lawsuit, containing unsubstantiated claims against government officials.

John Matson, the attorney for Election Services, told the judge accusations of conspiracies on a global scale were matters that a Nebraska court could not address.

He says the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled "political questions like these exact issues are prime examples" of grievances that judges should not decide.

In the original complaint filed with the court, Hill demanded county sheriffs be allowed to seize records from the Election Services and to conduct an audit of ballots cast in every county in Nebraska.

In a separate filing, Hill claimed, without supporting evidence, that Gov. Pete Ricketts cooperated with Election Systems to "make sure" Republican candidate for governor, Jim Pillen, won the primary election. According to Hill's theory, the goal was to position Ricketts to take over the U.S. Senate seat occupied by Ben Sasse.

Hill's broad theories of government collusion with powerful, wealthy conspirators have been raised in courts across the country with little success.

In 2020, he sued the Lancaster County Health Department regarding steps to limit the spread of COVID-19, including the mask mandate. When Lancaster District Court Judge Laurie Yardley dismissed the case, he sued her and demanded $2.5 billion in damages.

Hill previously was convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, claiming he is an "American National" not subject to the laws of the state of Nebraska.

In his closing statement to the court, Hill seemed to choke up as he read from a 10-minute-long prepared statement. After expressing his concerns about the security of electronic voting systems and claiming the top election officials "do not inspire confidence," he concluded with a single word.