Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Judge Donald throws it back to Nashville

Those following the Tennessee dead voter saga are probably aware that federal judge Bernice Donald ruled against Ophelia Ford in her motion for an injunction to stop the state Senate from voting to vacate the election. Main Street Journal has more.

It's hard to pin down exactly what the ruling means. State Senator Mark Norris and Terry Roland's attorney were both interviewed on WREC radio this afternoon. Both sounded cautious, certainly less enthusiatic than Roland himself, who was reportedly "ecstatic" at the news. From listening to Norris, it appears they will be overly careful here, as if vacating the election might cause other problems somewhere else? Expect no action until next week at the earliest.

For those interested in a bare knuckle Memphis reaction, check out this site.

(updated for clarity's sake 2/1).


After reading over the ruling it hardly seems an overwhelming victory for the Senate.

The sticky point might be the precedent argument, which to me suggests the Senate cannot use voting irregularities (as opposed to actual fraudulent votes) to vacate elections without opening themselves to lawsuits, which might use the Donald decision as precedent. That means they will lose, I think.

The Judge also opined that disqualified voters be given the chance to speak out after their votes are thrown out:
As such, the Senate may not exclude the votes of citizen whose residency is challenged without affording such citizen fundamental due process considerations of notice and opportunity to challenge exclusions.
Sounds prudent, but I wonder if she was also referring to the dead voters? If so, maybe Ford’s legal team can hire that John Edwards guy from TV to help.

In hindsight it wasn't a bad thing for the case to be taken to court. It exposed the need to tighten up election procedures throughout the state to keep such things from happening again. We should all be in favor of that.

But let's keep this event in perspective. There are still proven allegations of fraud, allegations of strange behavior by poll workers and poll supervisors, and a literal spider web of Ford connections running throughout this mess.

The ball's back in Senate court. Let's see if they use the fast break or the four corners.

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