Monday, August 30, 2010

Is This Man Ruthless?

Posted By on Mon, Aug 30, 2010 at 1:35 PM

District Attorney General Bill Gibbons
  • District Attorney General Bill Gibbons
So says Bev Harris of Seattle, Washington, one of the investigators for Shelby County’s post-election litigants in a post on the website of her advocacy organization.

In fact, Harris seems to have settled on Bill Gibbons as one of the villains of the piece — suggesting that the mild-mannered District Attorney General for Shelby County….well, let her tell it:

"...There is a county district attorney that needs closer scrutiny from the world at large. His name is William Gibbons. Quite a puller of strings in the Memphis power structure. Ruthless. Everyone I talk to behind the scenes is scared of retribution from Gibbons. As I understand it, the intimidation factor, announcing the arrest of a couple people for voting twice four years ago, plastering the media with this just days before the election, came from Gibbons' office.

"Then, as you see, the expresspollbooks (e-pollbooks) were coded to wrongfully reject thousands of voters who were told 'you have already voted.' This, in combination with the media push touting arrests for voting twice, created voter intimidation. The records needed to identify which voters and how many were disenfranchised were stonewalled, altered, redacted, refused, etc...."

Ironically, Gibbons himself was one of the voters identified incorrectly on August 5 as having already voted because of the incorrect early-voting data — from the May 5 primary election season, says the Election Commission — fed into the electronic poll book (EPB) for election day on August 5.

Apprised of Harris’ statement, the Attorney General responded as follows:

“When the Election Commission refers a matter to us regarding possible voter fraud, if, upon review, we feel there is a possibility of any criminal conduct, we refer it to the TBI for investigation. After we receive the results of the TBI's investigation, we decide whether there is sufficient proof to move forward with prosecution. Sometimes we move forward, and sometimes we do not, depending upon whether we feel we have sufficient proof.

“No one should feel intimidated by prosecutions for voter fraud, unless, of course, that person either has or is contemplating engaging in such conduct !

“I was one of those voters who, on election day, was told I had already voted when , in fact, I had not !”

Gibbons would go on, like apparently thousands of other voters, to fill out a “fail-safe” affidavit, after which he was allowed to vote on one of the county’s Diebold voting machines.

In the aftermath of the election, when the results were first disputed, Gibbons was asked by the Election Commission to investigate the election and passed on that request to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The TBI went on to investigate but has not yet released its report.

Meanwhile, the litigants, who by this time include all of the defeated Democratic countywide candidates except for outgoing interim mayor Joe Ford, have filed the second of two Chancery Court suits — this one asking that the election be ruled invalid as “incurably uncertain.”

According to Trustee Regina Morrison Newman, attorney for the group and a litigant herself, the Election Commission has suspended any further investigative access by the litigants or their representatives.

The group is holding an “informational meeting” on Thursday at 6 p.m. at Bloomfield Baptist Church at 123 South Parkway West and is asking that any voters who had “issues in the August election” attend.

On Tuesday, September 14, at 6 p.m. the litigants and their supporters plan a march on the Election Commission headquarters downtown.

And an account — entitled “Shelby County Voter Protection Rights Fund” — has been opened at First Tennessee Bank to accept donations for the ongoing legal action.

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