Crawdaddy

Holleman tells court 'sky is not falling' in McDaniel election case

Crawdaddy
Crawdaddy

The attorney for Harrison County Circuit Clerk Gayle Parker says the most recent filings in Chris McDaniels legal fight over poll books "strain the boundaries of credibility."

McDaniel has been trying to force Parker to produce unredacted copies of poll books, which are lists of all the registered voters in a precinct. Parker has rejected McDaniel's argument that he needs to see voters' birth dates to distinguish between voters with similar names. Parker has said each voter is assigned a unique voter number that could be used for that purpose.

The Circuit Court in Harrison County and the state Supreme Court both have ruled against McDaniel.

In McDaniel's latest argument, filed Friday, he said poll books should also be considered "tally sheets" because election workers wrote "voted" after the name of each voter who cast a ballot.

"Petitioner and his counsel strain the boundaries of credibility with an entirely new argument that "poll books" are somehow magically transformed into "tally lists" or tally sheets," wrote Tim Holleman, attorney for Parker.  "A tally list or sheet is nothing more than a certification or accounting of all ballots voted etc. A poll book does not provide information to be used to account for ballots used. It is nothing more than a list of registered voters for each precinct."

Holleman also said that point is moot anyway since McDaniel's representatives have finished examining the poll books.

"Petitioner has made no inquiry or request regarding the inability to identify voters of the same name and address in Harrison County's 'poll books'," he wrote.

Holleman also assures the court "the sky is not falling."

"Petitioner repeatedly attempts to create hysteria by essentially asserting the sky is falling around election laws of this state," he said. Instead, he argues, the state is merely following the law by not making the birth dates public.

"There are good and logical reasons that the Mississippi Legislature determined it necessary to provide the exemption and/or exclusion (in the public records law for birth dates) as it is a matter of common knowledge that 'dates of birth and age information' may be used for the purpose of committing identify theft, which is a felony under Section 97-19-85," Holleman wrote.

He said McDaniel is trying to extend the proceedings "by introducing matters not part of this record, including Exhibits A, B and C and his allegations about what other circuit clerk's or circuit judges may have done or not done."

"This matter should be at an end."

McDaniel attorney Mitch Tyner said last week he would likely file within 10 days a challenge to McDaniel's primary runoff to Sen. Thad Cochran. Those 10 days are up Friday.

Read Holleman's filing here.

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