Committee ousts Ford; full senate vote scheduled - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Committee ousts Ford; full senate vote scheduled

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A special committee of the Tennessee Senate voted this evening to void the special election for state Senate District 29 that Ophelia Ford of Memphis won by just 13 votes last year. The matter now goes to the Senate floor Thursday.

After nearly three hours of heated debate, the resolution succeeded 17-to-14. Last year, Ford was declared the winner of the seat held by her brother John Ford, who resigned after being indicted on bribery charges in May.

The results of the election have been challenged by Ophelia Ford's Republican opponent, Terry Roland. His attorneys say they have identified 146 questionable ballots, and state Election Coordinator Brook Thompson has confirmed that at least six votes should not have counted.

They include two ballots cast in the name of deceased voters, three felons and one who no longer lived in the correct district.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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After nearly three hours of heated debate, the resolution to void the election passed the Senate by just three votes, Republican Senator Ron Ramsey of northeast Tennessee introduced the resolution.

Some thought a vote should have waited until a special committee concluded its investigation. Obviously, that didn't happen--much to the delight of Ford's Republican challenger Terry Roland.  Our crew in Nashville caught up with both he and Ophelia Ford following tonights surprising decision.

"Thank the lord, you know this is great--this is the will of the people--this is what democracy is all about and this is history and I just can't believe I'm a part of it," said challenger Terry Roland.

"You know, it's about racism, it's about Jim Crowism, and I've been talking to my family and we're going to let the federal courts decide," said Ophelia Ford.

Senator Ford says she does plant to pursue federal litigation IF this vote holds up.  She wants to keep the seat she believes she won fair and square--but Terry Roland wants it too.

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