Judge orders Dems to allow ballot review
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 1:00 PM
CANTON - A circuit judge has ruled a candidate for alderman who lost by only four votes in a primary election can inspect ballots, although the chairman of the city's Democratic Party Executive Committee had denied access on election day.
This is not challenger Ray Rosmand's first rodeo. Four years ago he found himself in a dispute over votes for Canton's Ward 1 alderman seat. As the incumbent, he lost to Rodriguez Brown by 49 votes.
This year, Rosamond lost by four votes to Brown in the Democrat primary, but Rosamond is determined to get his seat back because he believes voting irregularities and election violations occurred.
Rosamond will be allowed to examine absentee and affidavit ballots on May 23 at 3 p.m. after Madison County Circuit Judge William Chapman issued an order on Monday.
Rosamond argues that on May 7 he was not allowed to view the roughly 30 absentee ballots and 25 affidavit ballots at the Ward 1 voting precinct. Rosamond then said he was told he couldn't view them at the courthouse by the chair of the Democratic Executive Committee Robert Chinn.
Chinn on Wednesday was in the midst of counting paper ballots and did not return calls to the Journal by press time.
"He says we were supposed to have done that at the fire station," Rosamond said. "He had the opportunity to correct it right there and he did not. Nobody observed them opening any of those ballots."
Rosamond hopes that after looking through the ballots he will find at least five votes that should not have counted, giving him the the majority in that race.
Madison attorney Corey Wilson, who is representing Rosamond, said that right now they are not contesting the election. They simply want to exercise their right to view the ballots.
"The petition we filed...was for a writ of mandamus," Wilson said. "It's important because a mandamus writ is what they call an extraordinary writ. It's not done very often. It commands an official to do some duty they have under the law they aren't doing."
Rosamond says he believes some people who are registered to vote in the county but who don't live in the city limits of Canton cast a ballot and their vote may have counted.
"I never got a chance to look at those," he said.
"They went to see if they were a registered voter of Madison County - not the city. All we've got to find is five votes and I feel confident we can do that between the affidavit and absentee ballots."
He said that's just the tip of the iceberg in this election though.
"They broke so many statutes when they were at the (polling precinct), at the courthouse," he said. "We were denied our right to the right process. We were the only ones in that whole election in my precinct denied that."
Wilson said time is against them right now because they have 20 days after certification of an election to contest the outcome.
"The ballot examination is a critical part," he said. "It's worth highlighting we already know there are irregularities, particularly in regard to absentee handling and affidavit handling."
Neither would say if Rosamond would contest the election because they were waiting to view the ballots.
In 2009, a specially appointed circuit judge threw out Rosamond's charges of voter fraud based off a technicality and never heard any evidence.
At that time, Rosamond said people from the county voted, there was illegal assistance at the polls, and there was improper poll management to name a few.