McDaniel loses poll book case at Supreme Court

Posted on July 17, 2014 

JOHN FITZHUGH/SUN HERALD/2013 TEA Party candidate for U.S. Senate Chris McDaniel is interviewed by local media before speaking at the South Mississippi TEA Party meeting at St. Martin Community Center on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. McDaniels runoff review begins Wednesday in Jackson County

JOHN FITZHUGH — SUN HERALD Buy Photo

The state Supreme Court has ruled Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker does not have to provide unredacted copies of the poll books from the June 24 runoff to the Chris McDaniel campaign. 

McDaniel had argued he needed to see voters' personal information to distinguish between voters with similar names.

The court disagreed:

"After due consideration, we can discern no legal requirement that poll books be included in the contents of ballot boxes, see Miss. Code Ann. 23-15-591, nor are any allegations before us that the poll books at issue here were found in the Harrison County ballot boxes. Poll books instead are official records of all person qualified to vote in a particular county and are properly preserved and maintained by the circuit clerk. See Miss Code Ann. 23-15-135. "Access to information contained in poll books is controlled by Mississippi Code section 23-15-165 and the Mississippi Public Records Act therein. Thereunder the circuit clerk must redact voters "social security numbers, telephone numbers and date of birth and age information" prior to "inspection, examination, copying or reproduction." Mss. Code Ann. 23-15-165(a)-(b). "Thus, we find that McDaniel's petition for mandamus should be denied."

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann called the suit a waste of tax dollars.

“Filing lawsuits against circuit clerks who are clearly following the law are both a waste of time and taxpayer money," he said in a release from his office. "Voters have a right to have their personal information protected.

"It is time to address the real issues of this election and move on as a State.” 

 

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