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November 21, 2012

Election hearing continued

NORMAN — The petition of Paula Roberts alleging irregularities in the Nov. 6 election for State House District 45 was heard Tuesday in Cleveland County District Court by Judge Tracy Schumacher. After several hours of testimony and questions regarding mostly provisional ballots, the hearing was continued until 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 30.

Roberts’ attorney Greg Bledsoe filed an amended petition on Monday, eliminating the original 11 claims of irregularity and primarily attacking several state voting procedures as unconstitutional. At the close of the hearing on Tuesday, Bledsoe indicated he would be amending the petition again.

Rep. Aaron Stiles, the House District 45 Republican incumbent, was found to have a 16 vote lead after the recount last week. Stiles expressed frustration with the protracted legal battle.

“They changed the petition yesterday, then they changed it in the middle of the trial and apparently they are going to change it again,” he said. “The attorneys will make more than I will make in two years (in the office of state representative).”

On Tuesday, Bledsoe focused his arguments on seven provisional ballots that were not counted because those seven people gave different addresses than their registered voting address. Bledsoe said that while the addresses did not match the address of registration, their addresses were still within House District 45 and the votes should have been allowed.

Assistant Election Board Secretary Anette Pretty said state election board policy eliminates provisional ballots that do not match the address of the official voter registration.

“We are told to look at the residence address on the affidavit,” Pretty said.

People without an acceptable identification such as a voter ID card or a drivers license or whose name on the ID does not match the name on the voter registration can still sign an affidavit and vote provisionally, but when the election board staff researches those provisional ballots, several factors much match up with the official voter registration for the vote to count.

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