Criminal Charges Filed Against Franklin County Poll Workers; Prompts Sojourner To File Letter of Intent


The Associated Press reported on Friday evening that Senator Melanie Sojourner is looking closely at a possible challenge of the result of the District 37 Senate race. A later report by the Clarion Ledger mentioned the filing of affidavits in Franklin County as a prime reason.

In filing the criminal charges witnesses provided sworn affidavits that poll workers at the Bude Precinct in Franklin County violated election law. The charges were brought by Carl Cupit and Anita Leonard who stated in the affidavits that they personally witnessed Ann Reed and others illegally interfere with voters during the August primary and again in the general election November 3.

Mrs. Leonard, an observer with the Franklin County GOP trained to monitor polling operations, noted nearly a hundred violations of election law throughout the day at the Bude Precinct during the general election.

According to the affidavit, Mrs. Reed disregarded rules that forbid poll workers from assisting voters behind the voting machines unless the voter has specifically asked for assistance because of disability or illiteracy. Poll workers in some cases allowed voters without ID to cast votes on voting machines, while in other cases voters without ID were turned away and not allowed to vote by affidavit as the law allows.

The violation carries the potential for both criminal and civil penalties.

It also places in question the integrity of the vote. The Bude Precinct posted an increase in voter turnout, an anomaly when compared to the low numbers in other precincts across the county and the state.

Franklin County is also one of 4 counties in Senate District 37. Depending upon the numbers at the precinct in question, the outcome of that race could hang in the balance. Current numbers indicate Democrat Bob Dearing holds a razor thin lead of 64 votes against incumbent Republican Melanie Sojourner, and the Bude Precinct is the largest Democrat leaning precinct in the county.

Senator Sojourner in a statement earlier in the week said she had been made aware that actions at some of the precincts in the district were still being looked into and that she would await the outcome of those efforts before offering any concession.

On Friday afternoon, the Sojourner Campaign sent letters of intent to inspect ballots to clerks in Franklin and Adams County, as well as to Bob Dearing.

“After receiving information that a criminal complaint had been filed in Franklin County against several election workers I felt compelled to move forward with actions to help ensure that the voters of Senate District 37 have the utmost faith in the integrity of our election,” Sojourner said.

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28 Comments

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28 responses to “Criminal Charges Filed Against Franklin County Poll Workers; Prompts Sojourner To File Letter of Intent

  1. Gerald Hinton

    Oh dear………..how is Haley gonna take this? More envelopes? Well, u can best believe, he will not require the accused to be polygraphed.

  2. BOOM great job, lock up the ones that can’t be trusted

  3. Keith, have criminal charges been filed? Or have two persons filed affidavits alleging conduct which as you say later in your article “carries the potential of both criminal and civil penalties”? I am confused trying line up the apparent contradictions.

    • There is no contradiction. The charges are criminal and are stated in a sworn affidavit.

      Logic should tell you that criminal penalties can’t be assessed for something that is not criminal behavior.

  4. Keith, I went to the Clarion Ledger and got it sorted out. I honestly don’t know if you just wrote carelessly and imprecisely or whether you intended to mislead. Reading your response makes me fear the latter rather than the former. No criminal charges have been filed. Rather affidavits have been filed that allege actions which, if established as having occurred, could be construed by a prosecutor as criminal. If you really believe what you wrote does not contain contradictions and is logical, you don’t understand the nature of logic. I understand that your thing is publicity not reporting and that you are working for a candidate rather than trying to report facts, I also understand that the “faithful” will not be at all bothered by what you write or the way you write it. But in the end this is either sloppy or untruthful.

    • Charges were filed via a sworn affidavit, initially the report was that there were two. However, according to the Franklin County Sheriff, it now it appears to be as many as 6. Should the prosecutors investigation conclude to do so then those charges are made official.

      The terminology is correct.

      Secondly, you might try checking your information with a source other than the Clarion Ledger. They have already reported and retracted two articles in the past 72-hours about this ongoing story.

      In the first they claimed that Sen. Sojourner had conceded which she had not. And in the second just today they claimed she was filing a challenge, even though that is not what they were told and that no challenge can be filed before an inspection of the evidence has been done.

      The carelessness is coming from those you “sorted it out” with.

      • You might read the story that is about 8 hours old. It seems entirely correct and up to date. The terminology is not correct – but I have learned that there no matter what you or Sen. McDaniel or Sen. Sojourner say, you never back away no matter how inaccurate, illogical, misleading it is. I think you know that your article is at best sloppy, at worst deliberately misleading. And pity is you could fix it by giving a new headline and by correcting the mistakes, the logical errors, and the inconsistencies. But when you are stubbornly convinced of the righteousness of your cause and the evil intent of others, those things don’t matter. The “faithful” will not question it, and that is what matters. What you write is what they want to believe and what you want them to believe. No matter what the news source, it will be corrupt. No matter what the legal officials do, if they do not file criminal they will be corrupt. No matter if Secretary of State who is responsible officially to certify the results, if he does not decertify them, he will be corrupt. The problem is that Ms. Sojourner, if she is not declared the winner and sworn in for another term in January, she will be a victim of a corrupt Republican establishment, corrupt election officials, a corrupt local government, and a corrupt state government.

      • And there we have it! You reveal your real intentions to discredit something and someone for something that has yet to happen.

        As to your need to continue plugging away at this, an affidavit is a complaint and is referred to as a “charging document”, just like a citation or a police report.

        People press charges against other people.

        And you call others stubborn?

  5. Keith, I don’t wish to discredit you – that is, I don’t set out to discredit you because of who you are, what candidates you work for, or what causes you support. (And remember this is an intramural discussion between conservative Republicans.) What I want is for you to tell the truth.

    Yes, I get it. The police say to someone who thinks he/she is the victim of criminal conduct, “Do you want to file charges?” which means, “Do you want by affidavit to allege criminal conduct by another person?” There is a very low bar for doing so.

    You can have the highest of motives or the basest of motives when you do that. If you are mad at your boyfriend, you can go to the police and “file charges” of abuse, even if such never occurred. Or you can finally decide you have had enough of his abuse and “file charges” against him. Or someone can observe the behavior and file charges in order to make him stop and hold him accountable. In other words, such charges can be totally false or totally true or some mixture of truth and falsehood. These things are sorted out by police looking into the conduct and prosecutors deciding whether to file charges on behalf of the state.

    But your headline and the muddled reporting mislead. When a person reads “Criminal Charges Filed” he/she understands that a person has been charged by prosecutors with a criminal act and will go to trial or negotiate a plea in advance of trial.

    If your goal were accuracy or reporting and clarity of understanding on the part or your readers you could have done that with the headline, “Citizens File Charges Against Poll Workers” and in the body of your report explained, “Filing charges by a citizen means the citizen alleges criminal conduct. That affidavit can lead to a police investigation and to prosecutors filing charges against the person alleged to have committed a crime.” The headline as it stands, and the body of the reporting as it stands, is misleading.

    That’s the substance of my concern. Simple truthtelling. Of course, partisan reporting is not guided by such concerns. It’s goal is not to inform people of the truth but to shape reports of events for political purposes in order to stir up the faithful rather than give people accurate information. I don’t like that no matter does it. It’s the difference between reporting and campaign ads. I don’t take campaign ads seriously no matter the candidate because the goal is to get voters to support a candidate not inform them of the truth. Political “reporting” is often deliberately misleading. The goal is to get a candidate elected or to get people to support a cause not to make sure the truth is known.

    It is true that I do see what I believe is a pattern. The pattern on the parts of you, the candidates for whom you work, and the organization you serve as a spokesman is to see yourselves as persecuted by unrighteous and evil people. I think this provides much of the interpretive grid for articles such as the one we have discussed .

    I understand as the song says, “It’s too much to expect, but it’s not too much to ask.”

    • So, we’ve come full circle.

      In your earlier comment you stated that “no charges had been filed”. Now you attempt to backtrack that claim when pressed with correct definitions of what is and is not considered a charging document.

      The headline and the body of the article are all correct as stated yesterday when you started this line of ridiculous questioning.

      One can easily read your comment earlier questioning a list of people’s character, based on speculation of what you believe will happen (two of which aren’t even mentioned in this article), and easily conclude that “simple truth telling” isn’t your goal.

      The headline is correct. The article is correct. It is not misleading. It states exactly what is known at this time regarding these charges and who filed them.

      It is, as you say, the simple truth.

      • As I said, Keith, you will in the end always be right and always have it your way. It is not even conceivable to you that you could be wrong. So I will take your article not as a report in search of truth but as a political ad. That’s your right – as the blogger and as an American with the right to free speech. You can say and write whatever you want, and you do not have to be accurate in you do not want to be or, if your worldview, makes it impossible for you to see the facts for what they are. You know what you intended to do with this piece – or then maybe you don’t because you can’t.

      • EduKate

        It seems that despite being repeatedly proven incorrect, Mr. Smith is an example of that very thing he says he is working against. His indignation in rejecting what has been presented and repeatedly supported here, all the while refusing to back up his assertions with anything other than conjecture, is little more than belligerence for the sake of belligerence.

        My experience is that ignoring the prattle of those whose only desire is relevance will eventually force them to go mumbling into the mirror.

      • To my experience, Kate those who are partisans (not in the good sense of those who take a side but in the sense of those whose side taking renders them unable any longer to discern) will believe that they want to believe. I understand well that you believe that what Keith wrote about “criminal charges” is accurate, clear, and convincing. That is not because it is any of those things, but because that is what you want and need it to be. It remains an inaccurate, unclear, and poorly reasoned piece,. As I said earlier, it is not journalism seeking to inform of the facts but a partisan political statement. As I said, that’s fine, if that is what the author wants to do. I don’t think you are talking to yourself in a mirror, but I do believe that you are singing to the choir. The hardcore believers in Chris McDaniel have been talking to one another, reinforcing one another for over a year now. The line is, We are pure. Other are corrupt, And they are out to get us.

      • EduKate

        What is interesting is it is you, Mr. Smith, who keep resorting to partisanship of the negative type you describe.
        Chris McDaniel? I see his name mentioned nowhere in this article and I don’t see Keith’s.
        What I see are a set of facts presented that have, so far, not been disputed, and claims by you that have fallen flat when presented by the publishers explanations of the terminology used.
        But rather than facing the inconsistencies in your own argument, you insult me as “believing what I want to believe”.
        It is a frequent strategy of gadflies like yourself to project their own obvious tactical goals onto their chosen prey and then claim themselves above it all.
        I suggest you get more practice. You’re not very good at it.

      • I hope one day to be so clever as you, Kate. Now if you read a headline that says, “Criminal Charges Filed Against EduKate” would you read that to say, “Bill Smith filed an affidavit accusing EduKate of Jaywalking” or would you read that to say, “The D.A. has charged (indicted) EduKate with Jaywalking”? Would you think, “Ah, somebody went down to the police station and accused me of jaywalking” or, “Oh no! The D.A. charged me with jaywalking, and I could lose my license to walk!” Since you are edukated and no doubt a rational person, I am going to guess you would read it in the latter sense.

      • EduKate

        I would read it as “I have been charged with a crime”.

        But the evidence still must be collected before I would be officially charged by the D.A., and the case must be heard before evidence is shown to prove me guilty.

        I don’t know why I’m trying to explain this to you. It’s been explained repeatedly on this thread and it hasn’t sunk in to your skull yet.

        Namely because you simply refuse to admit you’ve been proven a blowhard.

  6. MS Conservative

    It is interesting that we finally have a case like this being pressed by citizens. Mississippians who have been a part of elections know this type of thing goes on all the time. We’ve all seen it. Especially in Democrat precincts.

    Hopefully these charges will be an example to others how we can challenge fraud in other parts of the state and finally elect good representation.

  7. Kate, your rhetorical style, vocabulary, and sentence structure = edukated guess about your identiy. Remember Mississippi.

    • Bill Jackson

      Making the discussion about people and not the event is how the small-minded operate.

      The old saying is that it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

      William, you’re beyond the point of no return.

  8. If you mean that wanting to know truth rather than the truth manipulated for partisan political purpose, then yes, I am beyond the point of no return – and have been for my adult life. It’s clear that people intertwined with the entire story which led to this whole discussion. McDaniel, Sojourner, Plunkett, UCF, et al.

    • Bill Jackson

      You proved my point.

      I double checked. Only name in the article you bring up is Sojourner’s. Don’t see the the others.

      You don’t mention the people that pressed charges and the accused.

      You have a tin foil hat collection?

  9. Bill, I assume you are playing dumb and that you are aware of the connections of Team McD. Re the other people in report, the one making the allegations are Republican poll watchers. The ones against whom the allegations are poll workers about whom I know nothing more. Now this may be all on the up and up on the part of the watchers. I assume now some kind of investigation will follow, and eventually we learn the results of it. If there turns out to be evidence to support the allegations of misconduct by all means let the process play out whether the potential penalties are civil or criminal or both. I assume that, if there are substantial reasons to believe there has been criminal conduct, the Secretary of State will refuse to certify the election results. If on the other hand an indictment is not forthcoming, if review does not result in an overturning of the results, and if the SofS certifies the election results, then the apparent winner will be sworn in next January.What I want, as I have said repeatedly, is for the truth to be found out, for the reporting to be accurate and logical not partisan, and for the people of District 37 to be represented by whomever they have elected to the Senate. Is that what you want?

    As for my collection of tin hats I have one from Goldwater, one from Reagan, and and one from Buckley.

    • Bill Jackson

      Maybe then you would be willing to explain why a fellow like yourself, living just a couple of hours from DC, has taken such a keen interest in a Senate District Race 900 miles away.

      • Sure. Lifelong Republican from time I first registered to vote in FL. Attended Goldwater rally as 17 year old high school student. Admirer of and follower of Ronald Reagan’s principled and pragmatic conservatism. Have lived 25 of my years in MS, well more than any other state, including my native state of FL. Have 2 sons and 6 grandchildren in MS. Was on the Executive Com at founding of the Newton Co GOP was formed in the 70s. Admired and followed the good folks who re-established the R Party in MS – such as Gil Carmichael and the recently deceased Leon Bramlett. Have attended and had prayed at GOP MS events. Have always followed MS politics closely. Of the 3 newspapers I follow daily 2 are MS papers. Used to sit behind Mr. Mounger in church! Lots of reasons to be interested and care about MS, my adopted home state. Moved up here only because of a family need.

      • Bill Jackson

        Maybe then a little respect is in order for those of us who still live here and see this fraud in our state every election instead of blaming people you don’t know. Have you stopped to think that maybe getting a couple of MS newspapers where you live in Virginia isn’t getting the whole story?

  10. I forgot to say that all five of my kids were born in MS. So I have 5 MS anchor babies.

    Of course, I read a lot more than 2 MS newspapers for information. I read blogs, fb posts etc. Have read quite a lot by Mr, McDaniel and Keith Plunkett. My experience of MS, the Republican Party in MS and the breadth of my reading make me pretty sure that I know the full story – at least as full as an ordinary person who is not a political insider and who is not a reporter with sources can have.

    I know that MS has voting issues. Not as bad as some other states, but worthy of investigation and cleanup. I have already said with re to District 37 I am for the investigation of the allegations and for the people to be represented by the person they elected.

    • Bill Jackson

      It appears then that all your comments on this article regarding McDaniel, Plunkett, Sojourner and UCF are exactly what others described: baseless character assassination and unfounded negativity towards the organization.
      You agree with the investigation. You just don’t like certain people.
      They have a name to describe people like that, William. I don’t know you so I won’t assume you are that kind of fellow, even though you made unfounded assumptions of your own.
      Sticking to the subject of the article might have been a better route to go.
      You just made yourself look like an ass who deals in gossip rather than discerning the truth.
      Better luck next time.

  11. It kind of interesting being in the ring with Tag Team McD.

    My objection from the get-go here, and where I challenged Keith, had to do with the truth-bending, misleading nature of Keith’s “report.” Add to that the lack of clarity and logic. That is my objection still.

    I agree that Republican poll workers made allegations by means of affidavits. The way to handle such allegations is for the proper authorities to look into them to see what if anything there is to them. If they find that that the allegations have substance, then I assume they would refer their investigation to the prosecutor. So, yes, Republican poll workers filed affidavits. Keith then wrote a headline that would mislead the average reader.

    A co-worker who is not friendly toward you could this afternoon give an affidavit alleging that you have been embezzling from the company . If I wrote on my Blog “Bill Jackson charged with embezzlement from the ABC Company” I expect you would object that the headline is misleading. You would object that you had not been charged with a crime, but that somebody who is unfriendly at your workplace has made an allegation (which, of course, does not make it untrue). Blogger Bill Smith has a dog in this fight because he works for people who want to buy the ABC company and get rid of you, and so he should not be considered an objective reporter. Blogger Bill wrote his headline and his story so that people reading it would assume you are being prosecuted for embezzlement. (This would be a fair objection on your part.) No doubt you would want to clarify to the public that you had not been charged, but that someone swore out an affidavit alleging a crime and that, you had not been charged with a crime before a court.

    The authorities are obligated to see if there is anything to the allegations. My guess is that all this will not amount to a poot in whirlwind, but, I am indifferent about the outcome.

    As for being called an ass by you, I recall that Balaam’s ass saw reality and spoke the truth only Balaam could not see what was there and thus did not believe the ass.

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