Steve Pappas has been busy.

While you were sipping hot chocolate by the fire on your much-deserved break, Steve Pappas was meticulously recounting Isla Vista votes. While you were watching Ryan Seacrest and counting down to the ball drop, Steve Pappas was sending out press releases announcing that he is contesting the 2008 general election results.

The recount, which included only I.V. and UCSB precincts, took place in early December and cost him $10,000. After sifting through thousands of ballots, only three votes were changed, with a net gain of one vote for Pappas. Currently, the Santa Barbara County Elections Office says the Los Olivos businessman lost the election by 806 votes.

Still unsatisfied with the results, Pappas and his lawyers have filed a petition with the California Superior Court questioning about a quarter of the votes cast on Nov. 4. Naturally, every one of these votes comes from the 18 precincts in I.V. and UCSB, where Farr won handily.

Specifically, Pappas claims that there were problems with voter registration forms from I.V. and UCSB, including missed deadlines, improper registration and filing on voter registrants’ parts. He also says that the county erred in accepting registration forms after the deadline, not properly checking identification or eligibility of voters, and sending absentee ballots to those not registered as permanent absentee.

Overall, out of the 9,700 votes cast in our community, Pappas wants to eliminate about half. If the court agrees, Pappas will win the election by about 2,250 votes.

Yes, we endorsed Steve Pappas. He is a sharp guy and seemed perfectly fit for the job. We thought he was ready to listen to students.

Guess not.

Steve Pappas has every right to challenge the legality of the votes in the election. However, in the press release, he claims that this contest is about the office, not the candidates. He’s parading this contest as an endeavor for American democracy.

But is this really democracy at its finest? We have to wonder if this is truly the best way for Pappas to earn office. Cutting out I.V. and UCSB’s vote isn’t exactly going to get him started on the right foot.

This early in the game, we don’t know all the facts. Maybe Steve Pappas is right, and half of the votes cast in I.V. should legally be discounted. Regardless, we can’t help but feel disenfranchised already.