Archive for October, 2011

RR: Mississippi Ballot Initiatives - Life, Liberty, Property

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

There are some frivolous ideas out there for ballot initiatives.  One in Mississippi has to do with a dispute over the mascot at the University of Mississippi. Not having attended Ole Miss, I’ve been entertained by the mascot war which began with the sacking of Colonel Reb and has resulted in the creation of the Rebel Bear (or Black Bear or Rebel The Bear or A Bear Named Rebel or something). I don’t have a dog in that hunt. I liked Colonel Reb just fine but right or wrong the university made a decision and I don’t think opposing it should rise to the level of a constitutional amendment. But as they say, its a free country.  Just because it isn’t my thing doesn’t mean others don’t care passionately for it and they can avail themselves of the same political process as everyone else.

I doubt they will get the required signatures to put it on the ballot. Only five times has that been accomplished.  The first two times were term-limit measures (in 1995 and 1999) and both lost on the ballot.  The other three times are this year: Personhood, Voter-ID, Eminent Domain.  I write about these initiatives in my column this week and you can read it online in the Neshoba County Democrat: Perry / Initiatives on life, liberty, property

RR: Lawyer from Noxubee case takes on Dept of Justice

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

In his new book, “Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department”J. Christian Adams presents a disturbing and frightening picture of a federal agency with power over Mississippi’s elections and redistricting. In additional to national stories and an insider perspective of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, Adams examines Mississippi election fraud in Noxubee and Wilkinson counties and what he says the Department of Justice did and didn’t do to stop - or maybe assist - in those activities. You can read my column on the book in the Madison County Journal: Perry / In-Justice Department in Noxubee.

New Book on Obama Dept of Justice Praises “Macon Beacon”

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

“Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of The Obama Justice Department” by J. Christian Adams is the subject of my column publishing tomorrow in the Madison County Journal.  More on that tomorrow, but, one item that didn’t make it in the column but deserves attention is the praise of Adams for the work of Mississippi newspapers in covering Ike Brown’s shenanigans in Noxubee County - particularly the Macon Beacon.

Adams writes:

Curiously, as the systematic and prolonged violation of voting rights in Noxubee became indisputably clear; the mainstream media lost interest in the story. Only reporters from three Mississippi papers, the Jackson Clarion Ledger, Macon Beacon, and Columbus Commercial Dispatch, attended the new hearings and reported on Brown’s most recent behavior.

And yet, in the end, the Ike Brown lawsuit was testimony to the power of a free press. Our paralegal Joann Sazama first discovered much of the evidence against Brown in the local Noxubee County weekly, the Macon Beacon. Published by Scott Boyd, the Beacon had been fearlessly and relentlessly covering Brown’s antics for years. While the national media was primarily interested in questioning the Bush administration’s decision to bring the case in the first place, the Beacon diligently memorialized crucial political events and reported the straight facts.

RR: Hood too busy to debate

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

This week Attorney General Jim Hood (D) and his challenger in the November election - former Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson (R) - spoke to the Stennis-Capitol Press luncheon.  If Hood has his way, it will be their only joint appearance during this election cycle.  Simpson took a few shots at Hood during his fifteen minute opening, but when Hood got up to give his opening he said of the former top law enforcement officer jabs, “You don’t wanna get in a fight with a pig because you get muddy and the pig likes it.”

The two also discussed Obamacare, the three ballot initiatives (Voter ID, Personhood, Eminent Domain), and other issues.  You can read the full column in the Madison County Journal online: Perry / Hood too busy to debate.

Todd Wade & The State Board of Election Commissioners

Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Last week I wrote about the removal of Senate District 9 Republican nominee Todd Wade from the general election ballot by the State Board of Election Commissioners.  The short the column is Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann questioned whether or not Wade was a qualified elector of Mississippi for four years. No one could prove that he wasn’t; but he could not prove to the satisfaction of Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood that he was. My take on the matter was that regardless of whether he was or was not, the time period to challenge him on that matter had already passed according to legislative statute and the SBEC did not have the authority to violate that statue.  The SBEC argued they had done it before, so they could do it again. You can read the full column in the Madison County Journal: Dem’s hosing of Todd Wade.

Here are some more rough notes I made while writing the column.  I don’t pretend to suggest they’re complete thoughts or even complete sentences.  But they are ideas or information I couldn’t squeeze into the column.  These were not my first SBEC meetings to attend (they are open to the public), but I always learn something new.  Sometimes they would be great events for a civics teacher to bring students to observe (although I do suggest you check first to make sure there is room). For example, I have been at their meetings before when they have removed candidates and thought nothing of it.  But then I had not heard before the argument and seen the law that Wade’s lawyers presented, and I think they made their case that the action of the SBEC violated state law.


Notes from 9/13/2001 noon meeting:

Court reporter present: requested by Hood and arranged by Hosemann. Court reporter transcribed the full meeting.

There was some dispute over when Wade was notified that his qualifications would be challenged at the September 9 meeting. He claims his first notification from Hosemann’s office was the day of the meeting but fortunately he had heard about the challenge through other channels and so was already on his way to Jackson from Oxford when they called.  Hosemann’s staff claims Wade was called on September 7; although Wade disputes the nature of the conversation.  Either way, both dates clearly fall after the September 2 window described by state law.

Hosemann’s staff argued the SBEC does not fall under the Administrative Procedures Act because the legislature has not specifically given it the authority to make rules.  Wade’s attorneys argued the statute generally gives the SBEC the authority and the position argued by Hosemann would “gut the Administrative Procedure Act.” When asked by Wade’s team whether the Attorney General’s Office agreed, Hood testily responded out of what appeared to be anger or frustration that he didn’t have to answer because his clients are state employees and that is who he gives opinions to and Wade’s lawyers are not his clients. Then settling down he said that the Attorney General’s Office was in agreement with the Secretary of State’s Office on that matter.

Hosemann, “I picked up whatever procedure there was when I got here.”

Notes from 9/13/2011 5pm Meeting:

When told that Senator Billy Hewes, President Pro Tem of the Senate, would preside via speaker phone because Bryant was at the time “incapable of performing said duties” and the Constitutional line of succession went next to Hewes, Hood asked whether it should actually be the Speaker of the House.  Barbour’s counsel read the constitutional provision and Hood seem satisfied. In fairness, I too thought the Speaker was next in line after the Lieutenant Governor so the meeting served as good civics lesson for me.

SBEC removed John Luke Pannell, Reform Party Candidate for Secretary of State on a vote 2-0 (Hood made the motion). Hewes and Hood voted to remove, Hosemann said he wanted to abstain unless necessary because this would be his opponent. Pannell is blind (no drivers license) and lives with family so had no utility bills in his name.  He provided no proof of residency other than an affidavit. His voter-ID card was March 2011 with registration on February 18, 2011. Hewes asked if there had ever been a case where only an affidavit served as proof and Asst. AG Reese Partridge answered “no.”

SBEC removed Yasming S. Johnson, Reform Party Candidate for Senate District 45. Has ID card from Department of Public Safety from Nov 12 2009 and an affidavit by Shawn O’Hara saying he has known her to live at her address for 2 years. No driver license or utility bills. Hood moves to strike from ballot and all vote to do so 3-0.

Discussed a complaint against Johnny Dupree. Six typed pages and four more pages of pictures that was faxed to Secretary of State. Complaint was over a matter of $585. SBEC determines this has nothing to do with them and Hosemann moves to reject and vote is 3-0.

When discussing whether MSGOP could replace Todd Wade Hosemann said notification on the removal of Maddox had been delivered to MSGOP on Monday but no notification had been made on Wade because he didn’t know how the vote would go. Hood said they gave notice at the Friday meeting and ample time and notice has been given.

Ballot Approved 3-0.

Misc Notes

The law allows for a challenge of a candidate’s qualifications and anyone on the SBEC could make such a challenge. But it must be done as the law provides which includes - in a general election - the 31 day window after the primary. In fact, the law allows you to challenge a candidate’s qualifications even after he has won an election. But the legislature protects candidates and parties from last minute challenges like this one through an exclusive process which was not followed.  You can follow the constitution without breaking the law.

As a statewide elected Republican official, Hosemann sits on the Mississippi Republican Party State Central Committee (SCC). Wade qualified for office on May 13. The qualifying deadline was June 1. On June 3 the Mississippi Republican State Executive Committee (SEC) certified the candidates.  On June 6 the Secretary of State’s Office contacted the MSGOP with questions on residency and qualifications of several candidates including Wade and some incumbent Republican legislators.  The MSGOP provided their information and a week later the Secretary of State’s Office sent the MSGOP the sample ballot which included Wade as a candidate. On August 2 Wade became the Republican nominee without opposition and the 31 day clock for receiving a challenge started. On September 2, that clock stopped without challenge. Hosemann is not on the SEC. Everyone on the SEC is on the SCC but not everyone on the SCC is on the SEC. The SEC is charged by statute as the responsible body to certify the candidates. (Letter From Arnie Hederman, Chairman of the Mississippi Republican Party to Mississippi Republican State Executive Committee)

Wade believed he had been treated unfairly and appealed to the courts.  Dropped his challenge saying he did not want to be responsible for the failure of overseas military ballots arriving on time. Certainly had the statutory deadline for challenging Wade’s candidacy been followed, there would have been more time. Only a few days if challenged at the last minute but had he been challenged earlier he may have had weeks to pursue a legal challenge without delaying the ballot. It seems to me that was one of the reasons the legislature created that process. (Todd Wade Statement: Todd Wade Sites Mississippi Military Personnel’s Right to Vote as Reason to End Appeal)

A federal court decision from 2007 – involving a Reform Party dispute – describes the State Board of Election Commissioners “as an administrative agency of the State of Mississippi.”

Todd Wade: “The Facts About The Election Commission’s Decision” (Includes links to his brief provided to State Board of Election Commissioners, Gourlay v. Williams and Jim Hood’s Attorney General Opinion mentioned above)

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