• Dennis McCaslin

State representative candidate files lawsuit to void May primary election results

A candidate who lost a primary election bid for a state representative post in May has filed a lawsuit seeking redress based upon irregularities that occurred during the tabulation of votes.

Jody Harris, who lost the primary bid in District 25 to Chad Puryear by six votes after an absentee ballot fiasco on both election night and during the ensuing recount, Harris is claiming irregularities from the handling of ballots from Crawford County election official Bill Coleman as well as thirteen other factual allegations and a plethora of circumstantial claims as to why the election results should be voided.

You can read the entire complaint in the lawsuit by checking this link:

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The bulk of the allegations are leveled toward Coleman, a Republican member of the Crawford County Board of Elections, and CBEC commissioners Mike Boxley and Memory Boucher.

The electorate for HD 25 lives in potions of Washington, Crawford and, Franklin counties. The lawsuit contends late on election night Harris was leading in the vote count when Bill Coleman was observed taking to his brother, State Representative Bruce Colman, outside the door of the central count location.

Bruce Coleman is the outgoing representative for HD 25 and had publicly endorsed Puryear in the election. Also, Mike Moxley, who is also on the election commission is the son-in-law of Bruce Coleman.

Bill Coleman

Harris contends absentee ballots were counted last on election night and at one point Bill Coleman declared the CBEC was packing up and absentee ballots would be counted later.

When confronted by a poll watcher, Colman relented but he and other commissioners left the count center, went to another building and returned with thirteen found ballots that had been "cast but not counted". Only eight of those ballots impacted the HD25 race and all eight of those votes went to Puryear.

Harris lost the total vote across the three counties by six votes and demanded a recount. When she and her attorney attended a recount meeting on May 25 they were told the absentee ballots were not available and had been taken to the home of Bill Coleman. Coleman decalared the ballots were "trash" and had to be remade and run through a tabulator.

Harris says Boucher, who is the Democrat party commissioner on the CBEC, was observed on election day transferring votes from absentee ballots onto a new ballot and that no other commissioners were present when the ballots were transferred. Harris also claims Boucher allowed unauthorized individuals to handle ballots on election day, a claim to which Boucher refused to comment in a public meeting on June 3.

Harris also brought up other points in the complaint involving the nn-public canvassing of the absentee ballots, the fact the certification meeting was not advertised to the public, and a claim that Coleman tried to close the certification meeting to the public.

Harris contends in the complaint the irregularities are so pervasive in the matter the election should be voided.

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