Terry Roland, the Republican candidate who seeks to overturn last falls special state Senate election in Shelby Countys District 29, made new charges Tuesday night about the election process which saw his Democratic opponent, Ophelia Ford, sworn in after being declared the winner by the Shelby County Election Commission.
Were looking into something else now, Roland told members of the newly formed Shelby County Conservative Republican Club, meeting at the Fuego restaurant in Cordova. We might have people who lived outside the district who didnt even know they voted. We might have had live voters going in for people who didnt vote. Theres an investigation going on right now.
The investigation would, of course, be carried out primarily by his longtime friend, computer maven, sheriffs deputy, and current candidate for sheriff, John Harvey. It was Harveys post-election researches that began the process that uncovered voting by dead people, suspect voting addresses, and other potential abuses and has chipped away at Fords purported 13-vote majority. A Republican majority in the state Senate is poised to void the election if that action can be squared with conditions of fairness laid down last week by U.S. District Judge Bernice Donald. Judge Donald was responding to Fords request for an injunction against a Senate vote on due-process grounds.
If she doesnt have jurisdiction, how can she set conditions? Roland asked rhetorically but promised to abide by the court ruling.
Roland said Tuesday night that Harvey, who was on hand and confirmed the fact had also found 1300 people on the rolls in Shelby County with two voters registration cards and two registration numbers. He said the election appeals launched by himself and Harvey were not about me getting into the Senate but about each one of you getting a fair shake.
Summing up, Roland said, If we cannot prove that youre getting a fair election, then were not a democracy any more. He said the ongoing election contest - "my Groundhog Day" -was not about "irregularity" but about "illegality."
Harvey also addressed the meeting briefly and, among other things, accounted for his candidacy in the Republican primary against incumbent Mark Luttrell this way: The current sheriff is a nice guy, butr I dont think the sheriff should be taking money from convicted cocaine dealers That turned out to be a reference to developer Rusty Hyneman, a donor to many political campaigns. Hyneman, as Harvey pointed out, was convicted of drug charges back in 1986.
Also critcized by Harvey as sources of support for Luttrell were the late businessman William B. Tanner and Tanner aide Joe Cooper.