Quartet of losing candidates take August 3rd election to court - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Quartet of losing candidates take August 3rd election to court

Four democrats who lost by a narrow margin in the August 3rd primary sat in a chancery courtroom Wednesday and listened as their attorneys spelled allegations of voter fraud.

"We identified a number of voters, approximately 371 as I recall, who were engaged in either double voting or triple voting," said Attorney Mark Allen.

The quartet alleged that some voters did not live in Shelby County, and there were 3,000 voters who could not be verified as having properly registered.  As a consequence, they maintained they should have been declared the winners of their respective races.

Shep Wilbun, who ran for Shelby County Juvenile Court Clerk, lost to incumbent Steve Stamson by 313 votes.  "I would not be challenging an election contest if I thought I had not won," he said.

Vernon Johnson lost his race for Criminal court clerk, Sondra Becton lost the probate court race, and Otis Jackson lost the Shelby County clerks race, all by less than 700 votes.

Their attorneys asked the judge to let their computer experts take a look at all of the data, and download whatever they need to from the computerized voting machines.  Special Chancellor Judge Donald Harris of Franklin, Tennessee, gave them 10 days.  "Part of the court's ruling is based on my desire to instill confidence in the election process," he said.

Vernon Johnson said early election results had the quartet winning...but when it was all over they were losers.  "We feel like this election was a fraud," he said.

The defendants, the county, and the Shelby County Election Commission maintain the four democratic candidates won't find any irregularities.  The candidates will come back to the court in 10 days to present their findings.  It could all lead to a trial that would be expected to last two days.

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