Commission candidate's wife makes election mistake

On Wednesday, one of the lawyers representing Ophelia Ford in her lawsuits over the disputed District 29 election is answering tough questions about where his wife registered to vote.

Steve Mulroy is running for the County Commission District 5 seat.

He is a law professor at the University of Memphis.

He is a published expert on voting rights and election reform...AND he's representing Ophelia Ford in the District 29 race.

But despite all of that, his wife may have broken a cardinal rule at the election commission.

On February 21, Steve Mulroy was under fire over whether he really lived in District 5, the district he's hoping to represent on the Shelby County Commission.

"I do live in the district. I moved into a rental house until such time as we can buy a house in the district and then my family will join me," he told us then.

The problem for Mulroy is that five days earlier, his wife registered to vote at the address of that rental home on South Graham even though a Crye-Leike record from a week earlier seems to indicate that only one person would be living there and even though her husband told us a week later that he had been living there alone.

"It clearly says 'address where you live," says Election Commissioner Rich Holden. "Do not use p.o. Box.' And the line immediately below that says 'address where you receive mail if different.'"

"Is it unclear in any way?" we asked.

"It is absolutely clear. It is intended to be simple and clear for the voters."

And it's not just housekeeping. It's law.

The disclaimer above Amy Mulroy's signature reads "Warning... Giving false information to register to vote... Is a felony punishable by not less than one year nor more than six years imprisonment or a fine of $3000 or both."

"She didn't register with false information," said Mulroy tonight. "At the time, we thought, based on the advice we were being given, that we could both validly register at that address. As soon as we found out that was a mistake, she corrected the mistake. There was no intent to deceive. There was no trying to fool anybody."

So what happens next? Well, the Election Commission doesn't have any investigative authority. The D-A would have to look into it. And the fact that Amy Mulroy re-registered at the family's new District 5 address before voting at the other address may make that less likely.

On Thursday, Steve Mulroy will be in Chancery Court addressing questions about his own residency against District Five challenger Joe Cooper. The other candidates in the race are Democrat Sherman Kilimanjaro and Republicans Jane Pierrotti and Joe Townsend.