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Monday, May 2, 2016

Hampton sworn in; litigation still pending

Thursday, January 10, 2013

On Wednesday, January 9, Kent Hampton (R-Malden) was sworn in as the 150th District Representative for the State of Missouri. Although Hampton has been sworn in, this does not mean that the battle is over between Kent Hampton and Tom Todd (D-Campbell).

According to Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney, Stephen Sokoloff, the measure that has been taken is a temporary one.

"That's provisional, it's still subject to the revotes," said Sokoloff. "The Secretary of State, issued a provisional certification to him (Hampton), subject to the outcome of the litigation, so he is only temporarily the Representative." Sokoloff said if Hampton wins the revote, he will remain, however if Todd should win, he would have to be sworn in.

Hampton being sworn in comes after approximately two months of battle between the two following the election, when it was discovered that there were overvotes after the redrawing of the district lines, which caused several precincts to be divided. Ballots from the 150th District had been given out in the 152nd District and vice versa.

On the day of the election, Carol Hinesly noticed that their were more ballots than there were registered voters, this caused Hinesly to discover that the list of the the residents that lived in the Campbell Rural and Cotton Hill Township Rural, that was given to the polling judges was incorrect. Following the discovery, she proceeded to send a letter to the Secretary of State's Office, to inform them that she could not certify the election results, due to the mis votes.

On behalf of Ms. Hinesly, Sokoloff filed a petition for a new election based on a statute that says that if the election authority determines that there are sufficient irregularities cast out on the outcome of the election, to request a new election. "Since the margin in the race was 116 votes, we had 270 overvotes, that certainly is a cast out," Sokoloff stated.

In a hearing, held in early December 2012 the Honorable Judge William H. Winchester found that there were mis votes sufficient to cast out the election. Judge Winchester then proceeded to to order a new election, however, this election would only take place in the two precincts of Campbell Rural and Campbell Ward two.

Following the decision made by Judge Winchester, Daren Todd, attorney for Tom Todd, filed an application with prohibition, which is a remedy that requires immediate action when one thinks the Judge has made a wrong order. The application with prohibition was filed in the Southern District where it was denied. It was then taken to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Additional irregularities were discovered by Sokoloff when he received a telephone call from an individual from the Cotton Hill Township, who had received the incorrect ballot for the 152nd District, but lived in the 150th District. It was later discovered that the individual had in actuality received the correct ballot, due to the new district line starting in his very own backyard, through his farm lot and out his driveway.

The telephone call from the Cotton Hill Township resident, lead to researching the area and discovering that at the time, at least five voters were given a 152nd District ballots, that lived in the 150th District. Based on the new information, Sokoloff filed a motion for a rehearing.

The morning of Dec. 12, 2012, a telephone conference was held between Judge Winchester, Sokoloff, and attorneys for both Kent Hampton and Tom Todd, where Judge Winchester set aside the new election that was expected to take place Dec. 18, 2012 and granted a new hearing, based on the motion made by Sokoloff. That same morning, without knowing about the newly granted hearing, the Missouri Supreme Court issued their preliminary writ for prohibition. After discovering that Judge Winchester granted a new hearing, the Missouri Supreme Court dissolved the writ.

On Dec. 17, 2012, a hearing was held based on the new information where a judgement was entered that the election be held three precincts that included; Campbell Rural, Campbell Ward two, and Cotton Hill Rural, which was set to take place Jan. 8, 2013.

Daren Todd then filed another petition with the Southern District, which was once again denied and filed with the Missouri Supreme Court again, which was granted. Russell Oliver, attorney for Kent Hampton, filed a direct appeal in the Southern District. Although the brief for the appeal has not yet been filed, the notice of the appeal claims that although there were sufficient evidence, there were more mis votes than the margin in the three precincts, that in order to prevail, Todd would have to get 80 percent of the vote to overcome the margin difference and that it was not proven that he would receive 80 percent of the votes, and therefore that would not be sufficient to cast out on the outcome. A motion was also filed by Hampton in the Missouri Supreme Court to dissolve the writ due to the direct appeal in place.

According to Sokoloff, with a judgement of a trial court, in order to be appealable, it must be final. And it does not become final for 30 days after it is entered. In any appeal that is filed prior to the expiration of 30 days is premature.

In the meantime, the Missouri Supreme Court stayed proceedings on the writ, leaving everything in place. This means that at this time, an election has not been set and everything has come to a halt, until the court of appeals and the Missouri Supreme Court make a move forward.

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How much has Carol Hinesly's error cost the citizens of Dunklin County so far? Given that courts all over the state have shot Todd's suit down, how long will the Dunklin County Prosecutor's office be focused on flogging a dead horse?

-- Posted by cottonman on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 1:28 PM

Cottonman, you are once again not correct. The Supreme Court has consistently been willing to take up this case. However, the Supreme Court is currently unable to hear the case because Hampton filed an appeal with the Southern District Court of Appeals basically saying that the nearly 300 errant votes cast don't matter. The Supreme Court will not take a case when there is litigation pending at a lower court. However, even in this instance, the Supreme Court just issued a stay, or a basically hit the pause button, until the Court of Appeals finishes it's case because they clearly think this case needs to be heard.

-- Posted by bootheelmomma on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 7:46 PM

Rethuglicans will do anything to get their feet into office! Thanks Bootheelmomma for bringing that up...

-- Posted by Kennett_Resident on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 2:27 AM

Given the vacancies in the 76th and 157th, and the now provisional swearing in of state representative Kent Hampton for the 150th, the Missouri House is now at 109 Republicans and 54 democrats ... I think, it is getting confusing with all this back and forth.

-- Posted by Rabbi DF Eukel on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 9:48 AM

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