CHAMPAIGN – Seven months after Tony Brown was sworn in as Macon County sheriff, a legal attempt by challenger Lt. Jim Root to contest the election results will continue to move forward.
The Champaign County Circuit judge, Anna M. Benjamin, issued a ruling that denies Brown's motion to close the case. He also spoke on several other motions made by Brown and Macon County Clerk Josh Tanner, who was not employed at the time of the November 6th election.
Benjamin agreed to report charges of fraud in Root's original complaint, filed on December 19th. He also accepted allegations that qualified voters were removed from the polls and people who were not qualified to vote could do so, claiming to be "unsupported" specific fact. "
Brown did not immediately respond to a text message and telephone waiting for a comment on Friday night.
Democrat Brown's mandate began on December 1, just over a week after all the votes on election day were counted and showed he had defeated the Republican Root with one vote, from 19.655 to 19.654. Unofficial returns on election night showed that Root had obtained an advantage of 99 votes.
Root petitioned the Macon County Circuit Court to call him at the office. Root and local GOP officials said there was evidence of multiple errors during the elections and tried to persuade a judge that the wrong person was called a sheriff.
The problems mentioned by Root include:
– Two polls for Radice in Hickory Point Precinct 1 were not counted on election night;
– A ballot for Root has not been counted. On it, the elector placed an "X" next to the names of the candidates for whom he wanted to vote, instead of obscuring the box next to the candidate's name.
– A ballot which was originally marked as a subtitle – a ballot in which not all races received a vote – was marked as a vote for Radice. It was found during the second count discovered on December 16th.
– Two votes for Brown were not signed by any electoral judge as required by the Electoral Code.
Archived documents Brown asking the court to reject his challenger's petition.
The root, in a statement, said the decision was a victory.
"While this case goes on in the courts, I have no doubt that there will be more motions and stall tactics, trying to deny the true outcome of the elections," he said. "But rest assured, my team and I will continue to fight until the election results are verified and accurate."
Contact Allison Petty at (217) 421-6986. Follow her on Twitter: @ allison0512
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