Today the Mississippi Republican Party filed a suit against the Leflore County Election Commission and Southeast Greenwood Poll Manager Gail Griggs, to ensure better elections in Leflore County.
“Our evidence and eye witnesses reveal a serious failure in this precinct to follow Mississippi’s election laws and ensure a fair and honest election,” said Brad White, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party. “We will not tolerate voter fraud, voter intimidation, and violations of election laws. We want the next election in Leflore County to follow the law. And we want voters, candidates, and elected officials around the state to know we support honest elections and will fight against election fraud,” said White.
The Mississippi Republican Party filed an amended petition for writ of mandamus asking the Court to find the Election Commission of Leflore County and Gail Griggs, Poll Manager of Southeast Greenwood Precinct of Leflore County, failed to perform their statutory duties. The Party also asks the Court to issue a writ of mandamus commanding the defendants and their successors in office to execute their duties in all future elections. If ordered, and the Leflore County Election Commission or the precinct poll manager failed to comply, the law enforcement officers could execute the order during the next election.
Witnesses for the Mississippi Republican Party will testify:
• Authorized poll watchers were prohibited from suitably observing the election
• People not needing or asking for assistance were accompanied during voting
• Voters received instruction and direction on who to vote for at the voting machines
• Unauthorized individuals loitered about the polling location
• The poll manager and bailiff ignored notifications of violations and refused to enforce the law
Through an open records request, the Mississippi Republican Party obtained a report from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office on the precinct in question noting “organized voter assistance to individuals not obviously in need of assistance” and “poll watchers seated too far away” rendering them “ineffective.” The report also states “affidavit voters going into library to vote out of sight of poll watchers” indicating ballots were being removed from the voting area.
The Mississippi Republican Party first filed suit on Election Day (November 4) to stop the illegal actions, but the Court did not act on the suit that day. Now the Republicans seek protection from injury in future elections. Circuit Judge Jannie M. Lewis will hear the case.
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December 9, 2008
Republican Party Sues for Election Integrity
Seeks judicial order to ensure better elections in Leflore County
Q & A
Question: Do you anticipate doing this in other counties?
Answer: When we have strong, documented, credible examples of election violations, we will take the appropriate action whether it is like today’s actions, or seeking criminal prosecution.
Question: Why not seek criminal prosecution in these matters today?
Answer: We’ll leave anything like that to local officials. Today we just want to ensure future elections are carried out in a fair and honest manner.
Question: What laws were broken?
Answer: The Mississippi Republican Party alleges failures of duties and violations under sections 23-15-577, 23-15-549, 23-15-551 and 23-15-533, Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended.
Question: Must the Department of Justice preclear this action under the Voting Rights Act?
Answer: No, the Mississippi Republican Party is not seeking to change approved procedure, but rather seeking an order to enforce that procedure.
Question: Is the Secretary of State a party in this lawsuit?
Answer: No, the Secretary of State is not a party to this lawsuit and the report obtained from the Office of the Secretary of State as evidence was done so through a public records request.
Question: Who did these violations benefit?
Answer: According to the report obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State, the individuals “assisting” voters appear to have been connected to a local school board candidate. However, the entire election system, every voter, and every candidate are all victims when there are violations of election laws.
Question: Who are the lawyers involved?
Answer: The Mississippi Republican Party is being represented by Michael B. Wallace and Spence Flatgard.
Question: What happens if the Republican Party loses this suit?
Answer: Then those who want to break election laws will feel empowered and protected to do so. We would appeal to further seek fair elections. But we have a strong case with witnesses and evidence and we expect to prevail at the trial court level.
MS GOP Press Release