Marion Mayor’s race trial moving along

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

MARION-Day three of the court in the Marion mayoral challenge was more of the same from the first two days. Again, ballots were questioned and again addresses were the major topic of discussion.

This time it was Mayor Tony Long’s attorney Jim Barnes who had the questions. Barnes again felt the evidence presented by Robert Bryant’s attorney Robert Turner was insignificant to the case. The evidence Barnes referred to were documents mailed to P.O. Boxes 515 and 536. Turner has submitted these ballots as evidence on the grounds that they should have been sent to another location. However, Barnes objected to the evidence saying these ballots were not significant to the case.

“The use of the ballots sent to the P.O. Box is unfair,” Barnes said. “Based on that I object to al exhibits he has offered. There has been no evidence of mischief or bad faith on the behavior of voters or anyone else.”

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Barnes said when the challenger Bryant took the stand he removed all doubts that the ballots should remain as evidence.

“Bryant himself testified that there was no evidence before the court at this point,” Barnes said. “Maybe they have raised a suspicion, however, they have no raised any proof.”

Barnes also pointed out that he thought it was very suspicious that Albert Turner Jr. and other Bryant supporters had notarized several ballots.

In the end, the objection was overruled and the ballots were allowed to remain as evidence.

Bryant’s attorney Turner, said again, the relevance of the ballots was in how a person looked at them.

“It all depends on what you see,” Turner said. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and what I see with that many ballots going to two locations that many different people from that many different districts, you are never going to convince me that that was by accident.”

Turner argued the ballots should never have made it out in the first place. He said the election manager should have seen the trend and pointed this out. Turner said if this had been the case the entire problem could have been avoided.

“It is relevant because initially at the election manager asked them where she should send the ballot,” Turner said. “The election manager should have said all of these people couldn’t be at the same address and she should not have sent them out. I wish the election managers would look at things like that and stopped it right there. Then it would not have had to go any further.”

As for the notarized documents, Turner said everything was done legally. He said the mention of the documents being suspicious was merely a move by Bryant to get some names out into the public eye.

“I think he just wanted to get those names out,” Turner said. “He wanted to get it in the newspapers and have the names connected. The truth is, some of the voters found out what address was put on their applications and they went and took them back.”

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. this morning.