WHITLEY CITY —
The clock is ticking to determine whether the August 28 wet-dry election can be voided.
Yesterday morning, McCreary Circuit Judge Dan Ballou heard several motions in the civil case of Morrow, et. al. vs. McCreary County Board of Elections.
Representing the local elections board, McCreary County Attorney Michele Wilson Jones advised the court that the county’s voting machines must be reset by October 5 to prepare for the November 6 General Election. To that end, she recommended that the latest date for a recount be Wednesday, October 3.
[UPDATE: The event has been scheduled for Friday, September 28.]
Tim Allen, who represents 24 plaintiffs including original petitioner Scottie Morrow, agreed with the date but was reluctant to settle on a final hearing date as he requested time for discovery to obtain and examine more information from the elections board.
Judge Ballou had ordered the plaintiffs to file a $10,000 bond to cover a possible recount, and Allen advised that the bond was ready.
Allen moved for the removal of plaintiffs Daniel Gilreath and Tammy Colbaugh, to which Jones did not object. He also moved that affidavits be sealed until the final hearing.
Jones questioned the motion, noting her right to cross-examine and subpoena potential witnesses. Allen responded that it was not his intent to block opposing counsel but rather to keep the witnesses from being published prior to the time they may testify. Allen said he didn’t want to lose witnesses due to harassment.
Allen’s final motion involved representation of the plaintiffs at the recount. With Jones requesting a limit due to the number of plaintiffs, Judge Ballou indicated that two representatives could attend.
Jones objected to Allen’s filing of a legal memorandum in regard to the Citizens for a Secure McCreary County, the primary group which had opposed alcohol sales. Jones noted that the group had not been named as a defendant but Allen argued that could change. Judge Ballou ruled that the document could remain in the file but that he added that he would not read it unless it became relevant to the case at hand.
McCreary County Clerk Eric Haynes, who as a member of the board of elections was named as a defendant, said after the hearing that he had no issue with the scheduling of a recount.
“Both sides [of the wet-dry issue], whether you agreed with them or not, worked hard and did what they thought was best for the county,” he said. “A recount allows an outside source to examine the election and see that it was done properly. We want to remove all shadow of doubt.”