Voting-records suit refiled in Jackson

Associated PressJuly 9, 2014 

JACKSON -- A federal lawsuit seeking voter records has been refiled in Mississippi's Southern District federal court.

Texas group True the Vote and 22 Mississippi residents refiled their lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson against Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and the state Republican Party. The new version of the suit adds election commissions in Copiah, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Lauderdale, Leake, Madison, Rankin, Simpson and Yazoo counties.

The plaintiffs said federal law requires authorities to release voting rolls and poll books without erasing voters' personal information. They also say the law doesn't allow fees for redaction, saying at least one county wanted to charge $1,400.

Mississippi authorities said it's proper to remove birth dates and make requesters pay for removal.

The group first sued in Oxford, but dropped that action Tuesday after U.S. District Judge Mike Mills ordered plaintiffs to explain why the suit shouldn't be handled in Jackson.

True the Vote is looking for people who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary and then illegally voted in the June 24 Republican runoff between U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel. Many of the 22 who joined the suit are vocal McDaniel supporters.

The lawsuit states authorities "should be ordered to produce the voter rolls in unredacted form.

"Should the voter rolls support election fraud, the votes should be recounted, subtracting those unlawful double votes."

Though the plaintiffs said a federal judge should strike illegal votes as a violation of equal protection under the 14th Amendment, Mills wrote crossover voting did not appear to violate federal law.

McDaniel's campaign is also looking for illegal crossover votes, as well as other ballots that might be questioned. According to the count certified by the state GOP, McDaniel lost to Cochran by 7,667 votes.

Hosemann said again Wednesday he doesn't have the records and should be removed from court action.

"The state still does not have the records requested by the re-filed lawsuit and should be dismissed," he said in a statement. "The Mississippi Legislature enacted a law to protect your birth date and Social Security number from public dissemination."

Hosemann added True the Vote shouldn't be able to access birth dates and said the group should pay the costs of redaction and copying. "Your locally elected circuit clerks are following the law," he said.

State Republican Party Chairman Joe Nosef has also said the state party doesn't have the records and wants out of the lawsuit.

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