Friday, April 26, 2013

Why Primary Nominating Petitions Matter

Just when I think that it's over, something else pops up to remind me.  Fraud is fraud and who is watching our election officials?  With the recent convictions of two Democrats perpetrating voter fraud on behalf of Barack Obama in the 2008 Democrat Primary, I am reminded of the fraud that I uncovered at the Shelby County Election Commission in 2012 concerning a Republican Primary Petition.  Here is the background of what I found.

I finally received a copy of the voters that Mr. Holden considered as qualified voters for George Flinn, Jr's petition.  I met in person with Shelby County Election Commissioner Norma Lester at the Shelby County Election Commission office on Nixon Dr in Memphis on September 11, 2012.  Mr. Holden was present for the first part of this meeting.  Ms. Lester didn't appreciate that a member of the media was there ~not that it mattered because they left before we got to the proof that the signatures weren't qualified~.  Mr. Holden didn't have the documents that I had requested in my emails setting up the meeting with Ms. Lester.  My colleague who was with me, and who also filed a complaint with the State Election Commission, started by laying out the original petitions  and showing the irregularities among the checking of the petitions.  Since there are not guidelines for how the candidates' petitions are checked, Ms. Lester wasn't  interested in the differences of how the various candidate's petitions were that Mr. Holden signified by his signature that he did in fact check.  She said that she was concerned that there were actually 25 qualified signatures on the petition.

Mr. Holden then took us to a computer so that we could see the database that the staff used to check the signatures.  The requirements for signatures on the nominating petition are posted here.

According to the Shelby County Election Commission Website:
"Voters' Signatures. The nominating petition must be signed by at least twenty-five (25) voters who are registered in the candidate's house district, and the candidate. The signature of the candidate does not count towards the required twenty-five (25) signatures. Each voter who signs the petition must also supply his or her residence address as it appears on his or her voter registration records."

Since he had a meeting, Mr. Holden turned us over to Ms. Perkins so that we could look-up the voters whose signatures Mr. Holden had approved on Flinn's petition.  There were three voter signatures that we were questioning.  On the database that we had access to, these three signatures didn't match to addresses on their voter registration.  On the first voter, the current address matched the address on the petition.  When I asked Ms. Perkins when the address was changed, the computed showed that the address was changed in May which was after the April 5, 2012 deadline.  The same was the case for the 2nd voter on our list.  The third voter that we questioned, the computer showed that her address had been changed on April 5, 2012.  The excuse that Ms. Perkins offered and ~Ms. Lester agreed with~ was that it was really confusing with the redistricting and with candidates bringing in their petitions as such a late date.  At that point in the meeting, I realized that regardless of what the facts were, it didn't matter to the Shelby County Election Commission.

At the next election commission meeting, September 19, 2012, Commissioner Lester admitted that I was right and that two of the signatures on Dr. Flinn's petition weren't valid, but that it didn't matter.

From the September 19, 2012 minutes ~which weren't approved and posted until 5 months later~
"Commissioner Nollner requested that the record reflect a summary of Commissioner Lester's meeting with citizen Brenda Fowler. "Ms. Fowler registered a complaint alleging two signatures on a candidates petition were not valid. Commissioner Lester met with Ms. Fowler and in the course of the meeting it was noted the allegation was true that two signatures were in fact not valid, however there were enough valid signatures that the validity of candidate's petition was not in question." Ms. Fowler also alleged that there was a conflict with the state's website as to deadline of petition filing. Commissioner Lester stated that would be an issue for the State."

There you have it.  Two invalid signatures on George Flinn, Jr's nominating petition and the Shelby County Election Commission doesn't care.  Their "reasoning" is that because Flinn's petition had more signatures then  he surely had enough valid signatures.  The point is that Mr. Holden signified by his signing of Flinn's nominating petition that he found 25 valid signatures.  The truth of the matter is that Richard Holden signed an election document that was incorrect.  In my book, that's election fraud.  Apparently not to the Republican or Democrat Parties here in Shelby County.  How about with the voters?  Do we really care about elections?

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