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Judge orders new election in Ratliff/Brown dispute

Friday, November 18, 2011, 6:52 pm News Flash Archive

This afternoon, special Circuit Court Judge M. James Chaney, Jr. ordered a new election in the contest between Preston Ratliff and Anjuan Brown.

Judge Chaney overturned the Democrat primary in the District 3 Supervisor race, and the general election of November 8th, finding that the evidence showed "willful violations of the absentee ballot laws."

Mr. Ratliff had charged that supporters of Anjuan Brown had solicited a significant number of persons to vote by absentee ballot when they had no lawful basis for doing so. Ratliff claimed that voters were urged to lie about the reason they were entitled to vote by absentee ballot by claiming that they would be out of town on election day when they had no intention of being out of town that day.

The judge agreed with Mr. Ratliff's claims, finding that at least 32 witnesses gave testimony confirming such solicitation to break the law by Anjuan Brown supporters.

The Court wrote:

"This Court is of the opinion that there is clear and convincing evidence that there was a concerted effort on behalf of certain campaign workers to solicit voters to violate the Mississippi Absentee Voter Laws by encouraging voters to go to the Circuit Clerk's office and obtain absentee ballots by routinely stating they would be out-of-town regardless of whether that was the truth or not, and regardless of whether those voters may have had other legitimate reasons to vote absentee -- such as being over 65 years of age."

"...the evidence clearly shows that there was an intentional, systematic effort to get voters to break the law by voting early when they did not have a legitimate, legal reason to do so under our current voting laws."

The Court found that the proper remedy was to declare the primary election and the subsequent general election invalid, and to order the Governor to call a special election to fill the district 3 supervisor seat.

A copy of the Judge's opinion may be read here: Order for New Election

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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