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Hearing set on Dist. 150 election flap

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


SEMO News Service

KENNETT, Mo. -- A hearing on State Rep. Kent Hampton's motion to dismiss and Dunklin County Clerk Carol Hinesly's petition for a new election in House District 150 will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday in Dunklin County Circuit Court.

Hampton, a Repub-lican, defeated Democrat Tom Todd, a former state representative, by 116 votes on Nov. 6. Hampton received 5,953 votes in District 150 and Todd had 5,837 votes.

On Nov. 13, Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen Sokoloff, acting on Hinesly's behalf, filed a petition for a new election after Hinesly "determined numerous errors of omission or commission occurred on the part of election judges and election authority personnel in the conduct of the Nov. 6 general election."

Hinesly said the problems occurred in a Campbell rural precinct which was split between House Districts 150 and 152 during the redistricting process following the 2010 census. Some voters who live in District 152 were given District 150 ballots, and some District 150 votes were given District 152 ballots, according to Hinesly.

The Campbell rural precinct vote totals were 166 for Hampton and 153 for Todd. The precinct has 583 registered voters in House District 150.

In his motion to dismiss the petition, Hampton, who is represented by Attorney Russell Oliver of Bloomfield, Mo., contends the petition fails to allege sufficient facts to grant Hinesly's request for a new election. Hampton also contends jurisdiction for an election contest within a House district belongs to the Missouri House.

Sokoloff filed a reply to Hampton's motion to dismiss. Sokoloff maintains the allegations in the petition are sufficient to provide notice to Hampton of the nature of the action.

The petition states "the irregularities were sufficient to cast doubt on the result."

Sokoloff also contends the circuit court does have jurisdiction because the action is not an election contest, but is a request for a new election due to irregularities in the conduct of the original election. He asks the court to deny the motion to dismiss.

Circuit Judge Stephen Sharp was assigned to the case, but Hampton requested Sharp to recuse himself.

Sharp requested the Missouri Supreme Court to appoint a special judge as soon as possible because "time is of extreme essence in the matter."

Associate Circuit Judge William Winchester III from Scott County was appointed to the case.

Attorney Daren Todd of Malden, Mo., has entered his appearance on behalf of Tom Todd.

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