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Election commission denies request to not certify August results

Thursday, August 19, 2010

(Photo)
The Dyer County Election Commission prepares to certify August's Dyer County General Election at Wednesday's meeting. A few moments later a resident requested the election not be certified on behalf of Rickie Tidwell and his wife, Kathy. Rickie Tidwell was a candidate for Dyer County Sheriff and lost the election by 184 votes.
The Dyer County Election Commission was asked to not certify August's Dyer County General Election during its meeting on Wednesday afternoon. A resident, representing a candidate for sheriff, addressed the board on the candidate's behalf, saying the election could be contested if several issues were not addressed.

Opening the meeting, Chairman Joe Enoch asked Dyer County Election Commission Administrator Jane Heathcott if any of the results had changed from election night.

"Absolutely not," said Heathcott.

Shortly after the meeting started, Bennie Patterson and another resident, Joe Tidwell, entered into the election commission office.

Commissioner Jerry Jackson requested the number of voters from the 2006 Dyer County General Election in order to compare them to this year's number. Heathcott said 38 percent of registered voters voted in that election, which was 8,684. This year's total for the August general election was 10,276, which was 45.32 percent of registered voters in the county.

Commissioner Tom Parnell then moved to certify the general election and the motion was seconded by Jackson.

Patterson then stood up and said he was representing Rickie Tidwell and his wife, Kathy, and was asked to speak to the election commission on their behalf. Patterson said the Tidwells were unable to attend the meeting, but were considering contesting the election if a number of issues were not answered. Rickie Tidwell was a candidate for Dyer County Sheriff in the August election. He lost to sheriff-elect Jeff Box by 184 votes.

Patterson said the Tidwells' lawyers had requested him to come to the commission and ask them to not certify the election until Aug. 23.

"To give us a little time by Friday, to get about six issues answered and maybe it won't go to court and maybe this won't be contested," said Patterson. "We've got about six issues that need to be looked at, talked about."

He said the issues might be able to be solved at the next meeting and a lawyer would be present. Enoch said the all of the commissioners could not meet on Aug. 23 due to scheduling conflicts.

He noted that even though the Tidwells had questions and possibly intend to sue the commission, they still have to certify the election.

"It just starts the clock," said Enoch.

Jackson asked Patterson why had the Tidwells not brought up the issues before. Patterson said he could not answer that question and that he was simply the messenger. He said the lawyers were requesting to see if they could get the issue settled without filing suit.

He said two attorneys were involved and the Tidwells could not decide on which lawyer to choose. Patterson said one lawyer wanted to settle the matter out of court and the other just wanted to "go".

Heathcott said she has told the Tidwells that anytime they would like to talk, she is available. Patterson said one lawyer had six questions he would present to the commission and upon hearing the answers he would make a recommendation to the Tidwells.

"There is nothing that this body can do, that I'm aware of, that would change the tabulation of the votes as cast in the election," said Enoch to Patterson.

Eric Maupin agreed with Enoch, saying nothing would change and if the Tidwells had questions he would stop what he was doing and come talk to them.

Enoch said they are not trying to stonewall the Tidwells, but they are under pressure from others to certify the election.

"We've already waited longer, to certify, than normal," said Maupin.

Enoch said the commission would meet again today (Aug. 19) at 3:30 p.m. and the Tidwells and their lawyer could ask their questions at that time.

The commission then voted unanimously to certify August's general election, which was formatted by the state.

The commission also voted unanimously to certify the following elections:

Newbern City Judge, city of Dyersburg School Board, Tennessee Supreme Court retention issues, Democratic primary and Republican primary.

Heathcott gave the board a copy of election night's audit report. Enoch made note the audit did not find anything. The board voted unanimously to accept the audit report.

At the meeting's conclusion, Enoch volunteered to be the spokesperson for the commission if litigation is taken against them. The Tidwells now have five days to contest the election.

In other business:

* Heathcott showed the commission the "certificates of election" for the winners of the August general election. The certificates will be presented to the candidates at the Lannom Center today during their swearing in ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

* Heathcott recognized the election commission's office employees and said they were instrumental in keeping the office going during the election while she was out.

"Without them, we would have been in a world of trouble," said Heathcott. "They knew what their jobs were and they did them. And I appreciate them all."

Enoch also commended the staff and the machine technicians.


Comments
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i hope from what i hear on this subject, that no one falsely voted that was suppose to or someone did not turn in all the votes, goodluck ricky if you were done wrong.

-- Posted by jc in dyersburg on Thu, Aug 19, 2010, at 3:38 PM


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