In an interview by phone with Breitbart News late Tuesday evening after the McDaniel headquarters cleared out, state Democratic Party chairman Rickey Cole said McDaniel should challenge the election results. “Clearly there was some sloppiness to say the least, and probably some failures to comply with the law,” Cole told Breitbart News.
“I listened to some of McDaniel’s speech, and in a race this close I’m sure there are irregularities that ought to be looked into,” Cole said. “I’ve been around a lot of close elections in my life. I think the candidate owes it to his supporters to make sure that everything was done on the up and up.”
Cole said the most likely error in favor of Cochran could be where Democrats who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary were allowed to vote in the GOP primary runoff on Tuesday. “That’d be the very first thing I’d look for,” Cole said. “And that’s the easiest error that poll workers can make—whether it was an honest error or deliberate, I wouldn’t know. But that’d be the most common error that happens in a runoff—where voters who weren’t qualified because they participated in the other party’s primary would be allowed to vote by mistake.”
Cole said McDaniel could also challenge affidavit ballots, and how he said poll workers may not “reconcile the ballots they had at the beginning of the day with the number they have at the end of the day.”
“That always creates questions if the poll workers have a candidate for every single ballot, and then you need to reconcile the numbers of people in the signatory book up against the number of ballots cast,” Cole said. “A lot of it is math—questioning the numbers of the ballots cast, and the numbers match up to the number of voters.”
Cole specifically noted the extensively high turnout in Hinds County, a predominantly Democratic area of inner-city Jackson where a key Cochran ally already accused of engaging in suspicious activity on Cochran’s behalf. “I’ve never seen a Republican primary with that many voters in it in Hinds County,” Cole said.
There were 24,889 votes cast in Hinds County in the runoff—17,927 were for Cochran and 6,962 were for McDaniel—but only 20,567 Republican voters are listed in Hinds County, according to the well-known Labels and Lists Voter Data Base. The extraordinarily high turnout in Hinds County is much more than what happened in Hinds County in the primary just a few weeks ago, when 16,640 total votes were cast—10,928 for Cochran and 5,621 for McDaniel.
When asked if that seems a bit off, Cole responded: “Right.”
“I noticed in his speech, McDaniel said ‘dozens of irregularities,’” Cole said. “So I suspect he’ll look into some of the bigger counties like Hinds, Madison, maybe Bolivar up in the north delta—they had a big turnout. Forrest is always a place—that’s where the contested mayor’s race was last year. They went to court and it had to be done over because of irregularities. So, Forrest could be a place to look—but I don’t know where all these irregularities could be.”
Cole said the legal options by which McDaniel can proceed is he can request to inspect ballot boxes at any and every precinct statewide—there is no recount provisions in Mississippi election law. “They or their representative can come inspect the contents of any box and make notes of any irregularities and once they compile whatever evidence they may have, then they present a challenge to the Republican State Executive Committee,” Cole said. “Then the Republican State Executive Committee would have to rule on it, and if either party was dissatisfied by the Republican State Executive Committee ruling you would appeal it to a circuit court and it would be heard de novo in the circuit court—which means the circuit court would look at everything the Republican executive committee did just so you don’t have to start completely from the start.”