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Second Baker sheriff runoff ordered

NEWTON, Ga. — After rumors of election fraud and the selling of votes in the Aug. 21 runoff election for Baker County sheriff, Tim Williamson took incumbent Dana Meade, who topped the runoff vote, to court.

On Tuesday, Dougherty Senior Superior Court Judge Loring Gray, who was appointed to hear the election challenge, issued a ruling calling for a new runoff election on Nov. 6, the date of the General Election. A day-long hearing on the case was conducted Oct. 3 at the Baker County Courthouse.

In his order, Gray cited a number of concerns brought out during the hearing, including allegations of vote-buying by Meade and Van Irvin, a Baker County commissioner, and others; incomplete “oaths” which failed to designate the disability of electors which would authorize a person to assist the elector, and evidence of an unqualified “helper” who assisted eight voters presumed to be disabled. Irvin said that witnesses who said he had paid them for votes came by his tractor repair facility, but denied giving them money or liquor for votes.

According to the order, Gray’s greatest concern was 14 absentee ballot stubs which “clearly appear to be altered in such a way as to totally obliterate a possibly intended vote for the Contestant,” with testimony indicating they were “re-voted” for Meade.

“It is only speculation as to for whom the votes were intended originally, or as cast by the Voter Registrar after invalidating the ballots in question, but they are surely sufficient in number to cast the results of the election in doubt,” Gray’s order read.

Given the irregularities, Gray wrote, there was sufficient evidence to cast doubt on the election results, leading him to void the results of the runoff that Meade won by 39 votes.

“It may be argued that the fourteen (14) voided ballots may not be enough, mathematically to reverse the decision of the voters, it is certainly enough evidence to cause the result of the election to be placed in doubt.”

“I’m glad judge Gray was listening to the evidence.” said Jimmy Skipper, Williamson’s attorney. “Hopefully, when we have the new election it will be fair and avoid these types of irregularities. The people of Baker County can make their own decisions.”

Comments

herewegoagain 2 years ago

I am just pissed I was not offered a half-gallon of knotty-head and a $20.....

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whattheheck 2 years ago

Of things to come in November.

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FlunkyMonkey 2 years ago

L O L Are they taking lessons from the Dougherty County School Board?

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NewtonOwn 2 years ago

I have an idea of who is behind this...it is the golfcart committee...stay at home old man...you cannot stir it all up in Newton, Baker County....Nobody likes a sore loser and nobody is going to take their name or reputation being questioned.

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Trustbuster 2 years ago

Baker county politics at its worst since the Musgrove days.

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NewtonOwn 2 years ago

can't vote from federal prison

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LuLu 2 years ago

Don't forget the Forrester's!

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NewtonOwn 2 years ago

If Gator was here it would have been triple digits. No one would change 14 votes except the person that had to open the envelope and run it thru the machine

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JST 2 years ago

It hasn't changed a bit since we rattled the bridge and dove off it in the 60s / 70s. Tim, hang in there and bring some law and order to the State of Baker. If you need a backup, I'm at Ft Benning during the week and at the old house on Moultrie Road on weekends.

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waltspecht 2 years ago

I didn't think Gator let anyone swim anywhere near that Flint River bridge. Said he didn't want to have to account for all that chain they might have found and drug back up. As I was once told, "They call me Gator because I let them handle any problems I have."

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VietVet1 2 years ago

Something to learn: use different pens when changing the vote. Bake County hasn't changed a bit!

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GatorBait 2 years ago

Aren't vote buying and election fraud illegal offenses? I realize these are allegations at present, but if the judge believed there was enough evidence to warrant calling for another runoff, when will the charges be brought and heard in open court? Another runoff doesn't cure the alleged illegalities that might have occurred. Your honor, when will you instruct the DA to contact the GBI and get the investigation underway?

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