Senate rejects Sojourner challenge, seats Dearing

McDaniel and Burton tangled during floor debate Monday. McDaniel cited numerous election law sections and precedent court cases in his arguments and questioned whether the committee had been fair or thorough. He also offered an amendment to the committee’s recommendation resolution, calling for a new election to be held.

“There is only one way to do this, order a new election,” McDaniel said, addressing the full Senate. “But I know you won’t … There are two sets of rules, one for the powerful, privileged and rich, and another for the rest of us.”

Burton said Sojourner did not prove that any problems with voting in the election were fraudulent or criminal or of a magnitude to have affected the outcome of Dearing winning. He said the state Supreme Court has ruled that voters “should not be deprived of the benefit of their votes, because those whose duty it was to hold the election, were ignorant, incompetent, or willfully failed in some particulars.” He said throwing out the entire Bude precinct would harm “innocent voters.”

“For you to sit in judgment of us is just downright wrong,” Burton said to McDaniel. “I refuse to sit here and let you drag us down into your den of iniquity.”