New election date set in 150th state Rep., race
The date of Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, has been chosen for a new election relating to the 150th District for State Representative. The decision was handed down by Judge William H. Winchester III during court proceedings on Monday, Dec. 3.
According to Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen P. Sokoloff, an election will be held on that date but it will only affect two precincts. Voters will once again be heading to the polls in Campbell Ward II, and Campbell's rural precinct. Polling stations will be open regular hours, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
This new election is in reference to a petition that was filed on Wednesday, Nov. 14, by Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen P. Sokoloff on behalf of County Clerk Carol Hinesly pertaining to a new election in the 150th District of the Missouri House of Representatives.
Sokoloff's petition alleged 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.
As noted in a previous article, "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 also said in a previous article that 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.
Commenting on the court's decision, Sokoloff noted, "What happened today, evidence was presented and the judge found there were sufficient irregularities to cast doubt on the results of the election and ordered a new election for Campbell Ward two and the Campbell rural precinct and ordered that election [to] be held on Dec. 18."
Russell Oliver, Hampton's attorney, also commented on the ruling, "While it was our
position that no new election was necessary, we respect the judge's decision and
will gladly participate in a revote of these questioned precincts. We certainly want to insure that the legitimacy of our election process is secure." He added that he was uncertain whether or not Todd or Hinesly would file an appeal but his client simply plans on participating in the revote and will not file an appeal of the decision if the other parties chose to do the same.
When Todd, Todd's attorney was contacted, he noted, "Right now it looks like we're going to have an election for just the two wards on Dec. 18 and we're examining what our legal options are as far as a possible writ of prohibition to the Southern District Court of Appeals, you know, what we want to do next."