Case law for sound elections!

Honest Legal Advice for Your Local Elections Officials.

by LandShark (Paul Lehto, an attorney) at Democratic Underground 3 16 06

CASE CITATION

Tattoo these Three to your local elections officials, courtesy of the Mississippi Supreme Court opinion Debra Waters v. James “Danny” Gnemi, ordering new elections. (call these the Three Sisters if you like):

1. “Any expense or burden such compliance {with strict procedures} creates is trivial when compared to the value of the goal of maintaining our Republic.”

2. “Integrity of our government can be no greater than the integrity of elections which put our government officials in office.”

3. “It is therefore the duty of every {elections official} to endeavor to comply with the election statutes regardless of the personal inconvenience it may create.”

THE FULL QUOTED PARAGRAPH IS BELOW, FROM THE CONCLUSION OF THE 43 PAGE OPINION, ORDERING A NEW ELECTION WITHOUT DIRECT EVIDENCE OF FRAUD BECAUSE IMPROPER PROCEDURES WERE FOLLOWED **THAT PREVENTED** CANDIDATES AND THE PUBLIC **FROM KNOWING** WHETHER OR NOT IMPROPRIETY OCCURRED.

Note that the Mississippi Supreme Court specifically held that they were NOT saying that fraud occurred via elections officials, but nevertheless because the opportunity to detect it was removed, extraordinary remedies like new elections were warranted. The Mississippi Supreme Court concluded their opinion by quoting itself from 1983, showing it’s continuing relevance to this 2005 opinion:

“Although there is a strong public policy in attempting to preserve the will of the electorate as reflected by the tabulation of all of the votes, we take this opportunity to remind throughout the state that they invite election contests, uncertainty and the opportunity for fraud by failing to pay close heed to the election statutes whether they be mandatory or directive. Any expense or burden such compliance creates is trivial when compared to the value of the goal of maintaining our Republic. Integrity of our government can be no greater than the integrity of elections which put our government officials in office. It is therefore the duty of every registrar to endeavor to comply with the election statutes regardless of the personal inconvenience it may create.” Waters v. Gnemi, 907 So. 2d 307, 336 (Miss. Sup. Ct. 2005) (citing Riley v. Clayton, 441 So. 2d 1322, 1328 (Miss. Sup. Ct. 1983).

In the Waters case, reconsideration was denied August 4, 2005, and a motion for clarification of opinion was denied August 25, 2005 (filed by Waters’ counsel). At this point it is not being appealed anywhere and is as “settled” as relatively new case law is. But keep in mind that the best language was ripped out of a 1983 Mississippi case.

0 thoughts on “Case law for sound elections!”

  1. Finally, a Court that realizes what it’s all about: serving the people and the well being of “the Republic.” The quotation provided from the case is a thing of beauty. Too bad the folks in the Ohio 6th Circuit and the ACLU legal counsel can’t understand that this is the main goal, not “better machines.”

    Thank you for talking about this most important case. Michael Collins

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