Scrutiny of Runoff Votes Continues

By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email
By: Courtney Ann Jackson Email

Jackson, Miss. Three days after the GOP Senate runoff in Mississippi, every vote is under the microscope. Did people intentionally cross over, voting Democrat June 3 and Republican June 24?

U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran garnered several thousand more votes than his challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel.

Every questionable vote is adding fuel to the fire in a tense aftermath of the runoff election.

"There's sufficient cause to examine the books at the other 81 counties in the state," said Bill Billingsley, a volunteer for the McDaniel campaign. "And to see how many other discrepancies that we find."

Billingsley says volunteers have completed their review of the Hinds County voter books and found about 1200 irregular votes.

"We believe that some of those will be explained away as clerical mistakes or some other reason they'll be taken off and the number may not be quite that high," said Billingsley.

The senior adviser to the Cochran campaign was waiting in the wings to respond.

"Honestly, flat out, he is wrong with the numbers he just told you," said Austin Barbour.

Barbour says many of the inconsistencies can be cleared up if you compare the number of sign-in signatures from the first primary to the second, the runoff.

"It's time to move on," said Barbour. "I have no problem with the process they're going through. But trying to stir up all this activity that they've found over a thousand votes in Hinds County, we need to go through every county, is not fair to the process."

The Hinds County GOP chairman, Pete Perry, tried to bat down any rumors of shady dealings before poll books were even on the table Friday.

"Instead of crying fraud or illegality or corruption, rhetoric that is designated to inflame passions, -it would be helpful if those making wild accusations would consider other possibilities," Perry said.

Perry says every questionable vote will be cross-checked for verification.

"I'm sure there were some mistakes," said Perry. "I don't deny that there might be. But I don't say that that's illegal voting."


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