G’boro ballots now in A.G.’s possession

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 13, 2005

The ballots cast in the contested Greensboro mayor’s election have been transferred safe and sound to Montgomery, an official in the state Attorney General’s office confirmed Friday afternoon.

A day after Circuit Court Judge William Shashy ordered that the ballots be handed over to Alabama Attorney General Troy King, Joy Patterson, a spokesman in King’s office, told the Times that the ballot materials have been safely delivered into the possession of the Attorney General’s.

The delivery was made by agents of the Attorney General’s office who had traveled to Greensboro to collect them from Greensboro City Clerk Lorrie Cook, who had been ordered by Shashy to give over the ballots from September’s contested election.

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Patterson declined to make any further comment on the case, including any details regarding an order from Shashy late Thursday afternoon that Cook must “show cause why she should not be held in Contempt for failure to comply with orders of this Court.”

What chain-of-events might have led to Shashy’s order, and whether Cook is still bound by it with the ballots now in the Attorney General’s possession, remain unknown at this time.

Cook has declined to comment on the case.

The delivery of the ballots into the A.G.’s possession will ready the case for it next step, in which the “special master” appointed by Shashy, Montgomery lawyer James Anderson, will work with the two parties to determine a date and location for the ballots to be inspected. Anderson, both parties–current Greensboro mayor

J.B. Washington and challenger Vanessa Hill–and their attorneys must be present at the time of the ballot inspection, and the inspection must occur within thirty days according to Shashy’s order.

Following the inspection process, Hill and her attorney, Walter Braswell of Birmingham, will have seven days to notify Washington’s party of which voters they believe have voted illegally. Hill will attempt to prove at trial that enough of these votes should be stricken from the election totals to overturn the result of the election.

Braswell has stated Hill’s party is “very pleased” with the case’s progression into the part of the trial process known as the “discovery” phase. Washington’s attorney, William M. Pompey, was not in his office Friday and has yet to comment.