A Mississippi judge has ordered a new election in an alderman race after finding 79% of absentee ballots were invalid and evidence of fraud and criminal activity.
Judge Jeff Weill on Monday said that 66 of 84 absentee ballots cast in the June runoff for a city of Aberdeen alderman seat were invalid and should never have been counted. He also said he found evidence of fraud and criminal activity in how absentee ballots were handled, how votes were counted and the actions by some at the polling place, according to WCBI-TV, a CBS affiliate.
Weill also issued a bench warrant for notary Dallas Jones, who notarized absentee ballots. Jones has admitted in court to violating notary duties, the TV station also reported. Jones testified that in June she was called to the home of an alderwoman to correct her father's absentee ballot paperwork. While there, Jones testified, she notarized "about 30 something ballots."
The judge also found that 83 regular ballots were counted without being initialed by election workers. He also said there was clear evidence of voter intimidation and harassment at the polling place on Election Day.
Mississippi law states candidates and supporters must stay at least 150 feet away from the polling place.
Weill said one candidate, the police chief and a former mayor acted as if they were above the law, repeatedly violating criminal statutes.