150th House District: 3rd Try at New Election for Todd, Another Precinct Botched by Dunklin County Clerk
Yet another attempt to gain Democrat Candidate Tom Todd a second chance at the 150th district election he lost on November 6th has been filed by the Democrat County Clerk through the Democrat Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Sokoloff.
After a trial on her original Petition resulted in an order for a revote of only the precincts that contained voting irregularities and after the Southern District Court of Appeals denied Tom Todd’s Petition for a Writ of Prohibition against the trial judge which sought a new election in the entire 150thdistrict, including precincts which had no allegation of voting irregularities, the Plaintiff has now filed a Motion for Rehearing based on “newly discovered evidence.” For the first time, the clerk now claims that a 3rd newly discovered precinct, Cotton Hill Rural, had voting irregularities in it as well.
Russell Oliver, attorney for Kent Hampton, released the following statement concerning the most recent filing by the clerk, “Kent has gladly followed the judge’s order and went back to campaigning in Campbell Rural and Ward II. It is unbelievably frustrating when you play by the rules, work hard to further what you believe in, only to have the goal-posts moved on you time and again. Regardless of how many times Tom Todd and his democrat friends try, no matter what angles they attempt, they aren’t going to back us down and they are not going to steal this election.”
The multiple angles and attempts Oliver described referred to the following timeline of events:
Initially, on November 13 County Clerk Carol Hinsley filed a Petition for New Election as she alleged that her office had made “numerous errors of commission and omission” in 2 precincts, Campbell Rural and Campbell Ward II. There were no allegations that voting irregularities occurred in any other precinct.
Trial was held on Plaintiff’s Petition on December 3rd, wherein Judge Winchester ruled from the bench that a revote would occur in only in Campbell Rural and Campbell Ward II on December 18, 2012. No other precincts would be required to revote as the Judge ruled that their previous vote tallies would stand.
Second, on December 7th, Tom Todd filed a Petition for Writ of Prohibition against Judge Winchester in the Southern District Court of Appeals. In his Petition for Writ, Tom Todd asked the Court of Appeals to Order Judge Winchester to change his ruling and order that the entire 150th legislative district in Pemiscot and Dunklin Counties would have to revote, even in precincts where there were no allegations of any voting irregularities.
The following day on December 8th, the Southern District Court of Appeals, prior to receiving any responsive pleading from any other party, summarily dismissed Tom Todd’s Petition for Writ of Prohibition.
It was at this point that Russell Oliver, attorney for Defendant Kent Hampton stated, “Kent was willing to stand by the Judge’s decision. We are glad to see that Appellate Court denied Tom Todd’s request and that the new election will occur on December 18th. Kent is looking forward to this revote and will be out knocking doors in Campbell Rural and Ward II tomorrow.”
However, in a third attempt to gain a new election for Tom Todd, on December 10, Plaintiff Carol Hinsley filed a “Motion for Rehearing based on Newly Discovered Evidence” which asks the Court to cancel the scheduled December 18th revote of Campbell Rural and Ward II, to hold a new hearing on the matter, and ultimately schedule a district-wide new election not less than 14 days from the date of the new hearing.
In her motion for rehearing and for canceling the December 18 revote, the Clerk alleges that five (5) registered voters in the Cotton Hill Rural precinct received ballots for the 152nd district when they lived in the 150th district.
Oliver continued, “Judge Winchester provided an inexpensive alternative to cure the errors that the clerk made. The democrat party is going to great lengths to get Tom Todd a second chance. Tom Todd and his democrat friends didn’t like the outcome of November 6. Now he wants Dunklin and Pemiscot Counties to shell out about $15,000.00 a piece to conduct a new election just to give himself a second chance.”
According to case.net a conference call has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 12, 2012 among the parties, presumably to discuss the Plaintiff’s Motion for Rehearing.