Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen P. Sokoloff, acting on behalf of County Clerk Carol Hinesly, filed a petition Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, in the County Circuit Court seeking a new election in the 150th District of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Sokoloff's petition alleges that there were sufficient mis-votes in the General Election, held Nov. 6, to call into question the validity of the results.
According to a written statement by the prosecutor, from a preliminary canvass performed by Hinesly, it appears that a number of voters who live in the 152nd District were given ballots to vote in the 150th District and a number of voters in the 150th District were given ballots for the 152th District.
"Because of changes in the district boundaries, there were many voters in the county whose district changed," Sokoloff wrote in his release. "They all continued to vote at the same precincts as they had previously, however. It appears that the registration books may have incorrectly identified which district they lived in, resulting in incorrect ballots being distributed."
Sokoloff said the petition was filed in accordance with Missouri Revised Statutes Section 115.600, which provides that in the event the Election Authority is convinced that "errors of omission or commission occurred on the part of the election authority, election judges, or any election personnel in the conduct of an election, may petition the Circuit Court for a recount or a new election and the court is authorized to order a new election if the evidence provided demonstrates that the irregularities were sufficient to cast doubt on the outcome of the election."
Hinesly has indicated that no other races appear to have been affected by the errors.
The 150th District seat was battled between Kent Hampton (R-Malden) and Tom Todd (D-Campbell), in this year's election.
According to the uncertified preliminary election results, Hampton narrowly defeated Todd 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent. Hinesly said this race will remain uncertified until a decision is made on how to proceed. No official dates have been set.
When contacted, Hampton said he only recently found out, adding that he hopes the issue is cleared up quickly.
"I was notified late Tuesday afternoon that a petition had been filed contesting the election results of the 150th district," Hampton said. "I went down yesterday morning and picked up a copy of the petition and now, it is in a legal proceeding that is transpiring. Most certainly we want the election results accurate and we hope for the sake of the citizens that it would be in a timely manner."
Hampton said until a decision is reached, he will continue to serve the 163rd District, which he said has "truly been a rewarding experience."
A phone call to Todd was not returned at press time.