Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Ware challenges Hattiesburg results in court.

Copy of lawsuit published at bottom of the post.

The David Ware campaign challenged the results of the Hattiesburg Mayoral election in Forrest and Lamar County Circuit Courts yesterday.  The campaign asked the courts to throw out all of the absentee ballots and declare Ware the winner. The campaign filed lawsuits alleging over half of the 581 absentee ballots cast were invalid but were commingled with the other ballots.  The complaints also allege over thirty ballots came from the jailhouse and several came from disenfranchised convicted felons. The Ware campaign also charges the Mayor's wife improperly delivered over thirty absentee ballots. Mayor Dupree won the election by a thirty-seven vote margin while winning 343 of the absentee ballots cast (59%). Mr. Dupree received 4,775 votes while Mr. Ware received 4,738. **


The major allegations in the complaint are:

*330 of the 581 absentee ballots (56%) should have been rejected under Mississippi law.

*36 absentee ballots were cast from the Forrest County Detention Center in Hattiesburg. The city clerk only mailed thirty ballot applications to the jail. The campaign alleges the ballots were thus delivered by improper means. All of the ballots stated the voter "would be outside of the county on election day." The same notary witnessed all the ballot applications on May 24. The reason was "whited out" and replaced with a "new, handwritten reason" for each voter. The same handwriting appeared on each ballot and stated "in jail, not be able to vote on June 4."


*Five of the votes cast at the jail were "illegally cast by disenfranchised felons." The campaign charges other votes were cast by disenfranchised convicts.

*The Mayor's wife delivered absentee ballots to voters in violation of the law. Ms. Dupree delivered the ballots to the jail, witnessed the ballots, and notarized the ballots. She was not authorized by law to deliver the ballots. Funny story. Hinds County Board Attorney Tony Gaylor tried to walk out of the courthouse last year with a stack of affidavit and absentee ballots on election day. A commissioner prevented him from doing so.

*24 paper ballots were not initialed by the manager and were counted. These ballots should be discarded. KF note: If they allow this to stand if true, Will Longwitz got screwed because the Barbour campaign managed to get a whole precinct's worth of paper ballots thrown out because they were not signed by the manager. Enough of a difference to force a runoff. If it applies to white Republicans it should apply to black Democrats.

*Six curbside ballots were not marked as "voted" in the poll book. These curbside ballots were not initialed by a manager.

*Ballots were delivered to voters instead of sent through the mail. More absentee ballots were cast than were requested from the city clerk. 80 absentee ballots did not have the "required certificate of delivery" nor was there a "record of who requested the absentee ballots." Translation: No one knows how the ballots left the clerk's office but they were returned to the clerk's office.

*55 ballot applications lacked the clerk's initials or seal. The Ware campaign argues this "renders them materially deficient under the law". It further charges at least 160 ballot applications were "not properly witnessed by the clerk." Thus they are void due to the lack of a properly sworn affidavit.

*Absentee ballots were mailed to voters living outside of the city.

*Six ballots did not have matching signatures. 115 ballots didn't have the voter's signature on the flap of the envelope. 72 ballots lacked a witness's signature on the envelope. 45 lacked the information stating the election for the ballot cast. The voter is supposed to provide the information on the ballot.

The Ware campaign also states the ballot boxes were not properly sealed, the vault and City Hall were left unsecured, and unknown persons were inside the building around 10:00 PM. There is a missing 55 minutes of video footage from the security cameras that night. The city clerks failed to maintain a record of seals on the boxes. Thus the seals from different dates on the same boxes can not be matched to ensure box integrity.

The complaint charges the Mayor with intimidating a poll watcher and having other poll watchers thrown out of precincts. The suit requested an expedited hearing.

**Compare the number of absentee ballots to the runoff election in Jackson between Lee and Lumumba.  That election had approximately 37,000 votes with roughly 600 absentee ballots. Hattiesburg has less than  10,000 votes with around the same number of absentee ballots. 

Note: If we are going to get into a discussion on absentee ballot law, here is the law:

Section 23-15-627: Absentee ballot applications shall be furnished to a person only upon the oral or written request of the elector who seeks to vote by absentee ballot; however, the parent, child, spouse, sibling, legal guardian, those empowered with a power of attorney for that elector's affairs or agent of the elector may orally request an absentee ballot application on behalf of the elector. An absentee ballot application must have the seal of the circuit or municipal clerk affixed to it and be initialed by the registrar or his deputy in order to be utilized to obtain an absentee ballot. A reproduction of an absentee ballot application shall not be valid unless it is a reproduction provided by the office of the registrar of the jurisdiction in which the election is being held and which contains the seal and initials required by this section.

SEC. 23-15-631: (a) All absentee voters, excepting those with temporary or permanent physical disabilities or those who are sixty-five (65) years of age or older, who mark their ballots in the county of the residence shall use the registrar of that county as the witness. Said absentee voter shall come to the office of the registrar and neither the registrar nor his deputy shall be required to go out of the registrar's office to serve as an attesting witness.

(b) Upon receipt of the enclosed ballot, you will not mark same except in view or sight of the attesting witness. In the sight or view of the attesting witness, mark the ballot according to instructions.

(c) After marking the ballot, fill out and sign the "ELECTOR'S CERTIFICATE" on back of the envelope so that the signature shall be across the flap of the envelope so as to insure the integrity of the ballot. All absent electors shall have the attesting witness sign the "ATTESTING WITNESS CERTIFICATE" across the flap on back of the envelope. Place necessary postage on the envelope and deposit it in the post office or some government receptacle provided for deposit of mail so that the absent elector's ballot, excepting presidential absentee ballots, will reach the registrar in which your precinct is located....

(e) A person who is a candidate for public office may not be an attesting witness for any absentee ballot upon which the person's name appears.


SEC. 23-15-633. On any envelope where the elector's signature and the signature of the attesting witness are required, the signature lines and the signatures shall be across the flap of the envelope to insure the integrity of the ballot.

SEC. 23-15-639. At the close of the regular balloting and at the close of the polls, the election managers of each voting precinct shall first take the envelopes containing the absentee ballots of such electors from the box, and the name, address and precinct inscribed on each such envelope shall be announced by the election managers. The signature on the application shall then be compared with the signature on the back of the envelope. If it corresponds and the affidavit, if one is required, is sufficient and the election managers find that the applicant is a registered and qualified voter or otherwise qualified to vote, and that he has not appeared in person and voted at such election, the envelope shall then be opened and the ballot removed from the envelope, without its being unfolded, or permitted to be unfolded or examined. Having observed and found the ballot to be regular as far as can be observed from its official endorsement, the election managers shall deposit it in the ballot box with the other ballots before counting any ballots and enter the voter's name in the receipt book provided for that purpose and mark "VOTED" in the pollbook or poll list as if he had been present and voted in person. If voting machines are used, all absentee ballots shall be placed in the ballot box before any ballots are counted, and the election managers in each precinct shall immediately count such absentee ballots and add them to the votes cast in the voting machine or device.

SEC. 23-15-641. (1) If an affidavit or the certificate of the officer before whom the affidavit is taken is required and such affidavit or certificate is found to be insufficient, or if it is found that the signatures do not correspond, or that the applicant is not a duly qualified elector in the precinct, or otherwise qualified to vote, or that the ballot envelope is open or has been opened and resealed, or the voter is not eligible to vote absentee or that the voter is present and has voted within the precinct where he represents himself to be a qualified elector, or otherwise qualified to vote, on the date of the election at such precinct, the previously cast vote shall not be allowed. Without opening the voter's envelope the commissioners of election, designated executive committee members or election managers, as appropriate, shall mark across its face "REJECTED," with the reason therefor.

SEC. 23-15-657. The registrar is authorized to accept requests for absentee ballots by telephone. When a telephone request that an absentee ballot application be mailed by the registrar to an elector is made, the registrar shall ascertain the name and complete address of the person making the telephone request and shall print upon the absentee ballot application the name and complete address of the requestor and the relation of such person to the voter if requested by a person other than the voter and the date such request was made.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'd bet Pete Perry has been in Hattiesburg

Anonymous said...

From WDAM:

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Another Hattiesburg mayoral candidate filed a complaint against Mayor Johnny DuPree on Monday in addition to the petition already filed by David Ware.

Nathan Jordan claims in his complaint that the names of certain candidates were left off the electronic ballot in many of the voting precincts.

Jordan said when he cast his ballot at the Dixie Pine Precinct, only his name and DuPree's name were visible, and candidates Shawn O'Hara, Dave Ware, and Clyde Stewart were omitted.

His complaint also included statements from six other voters at various precincts whose ballots only contained two mayoral candidates. Dupree's name was listed on all the ballots.

Jordan is asking the courts to declare the results of the election null and void and order a new election.

Link: http://www.wdam.com/story/22674056/second-candidate-files-petition-concerning-hattiesburg-election

Anonymous said...

If those allegations are true, sounds like a good case for flipping the election. But, when, if ever, was the last time we saw that happen in a prominent city of size?

Anonymous said...

This stuff happens in every election around here. The only reason we're hearing about all the shenanigans in this one is because the result was so close that someone has actually gone through and documented all the irregularities.

Anonymous said...

11:32; Wrong! Challenges are frequent. Lawsuits aren't.

Anonymous said...

Looks like MS needs more Federal oversight to protect the minority white!

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This is definitely a Beaver production.


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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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