Justices Rule on McDaniel Request

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Jackson, Miss. The Mississippi Supreme Court says circuit clerks must redact voters' birth dates before poll books are open for public inspection.

The ruling Thursday is a blow to state Sen. Chris McDaniel's effort to examine voting materials as he seeks evidence of improper voting to challenge his loss to U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in the June 24 Republican primary runoff.

McDaniel's attorneys say they need to see dates of birth and other identifying information so they can tell the difference between voters with similar names.

Certified results show Cochran won by 7,667 votes.

Justices held that poll books are controlled by the state Public Records Act, which specifies that Social Security numbers, telephone numbers, dates of birth and age information must be redacted before the public may examine certain documents.

McDaniel and his lead attorney, Mitch Tyner, released a statement in response to the ruling, pointing out the decision was not made by the entire Supreme Court.

"Our legal team will request that ​the entire Supreme Court panel rehear our petition for the original election records to be released to the McDaniel campaign," said Tyner. "Justices Randolph, Kitchens, and Chandler all requested that both parties appear personally before the Court to clear up any confusion on the issues at hand, so we will ask for that opportunity. In addition to asking for our case to be heard by the entire Court, we will also ask for the opportunity to present oral arguments. The integrity of every future statewide and district wide election hinges on this decision."

"A candidate for office in Mississippi should not have to raise $100,000 to verify an election was carried out legally in every single one of Mississippi's eighty-two counties," said McDaniel. "We are confident the full panel of Justices will do the right thing, and we remain undeterred in our efforts to gain access to the election records in the counties where we have not been granted access to records thus far."

Tyner said this process is bigger than this single U.S. Senate race or the McDaniel campaign.