Only one vote officially contested in parish races

Published 11:56 pm Tuesday, October 23, 2007

VIDALIA — As officials at the Concordia Parish Clerk of Court’s office worked Tuesday to certify the results of Saturday’s election, only one vote had been officially contested.

Any citizen can contest a vote, Deputy Chief Clerk of Court Becky Zerby said.

The contested vote was in Ward 5 precinct 4, and the citizen filing the contest said the voter was not a valid voter for that precinct.

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The contest was ruled as invalid after investigation.

Candidates have until 4:30 p.m. Monday to file a contest, Clerk of Court Clyde Ray Webber said.

Candidates contest the final results of an election by filing a civil suit in local district court, Press Secretary for the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office Jacques Berry said.

“A candidate can contest an election for any number of reasons,” he said. “Once they file the suit detailing why they are contesting the election the parties involved can move forward.”

Sheriff’s candidate Glenn Lipsey said he plans to file an election contest after Saturday’s vote saw an only 22-vote difference between him and incumbent Sheriff Randy Maxwell.

Lipsey said at the time he had more than 22 votes he wanted to contest before the polls even closed Saturday.

Lipsey’s legal counsel Andy Magoun said the Lipsey campaign is currently reviewing information.

“Right now, we are investigating some things we consider to be voting irregularities,” Magoun said.

Some of those irregularities include allegations of people being turned down the right to vote, voters who did not meet residency requirements being allowed to vote and allegations of vote buying, Magoun said.

“Some we have already confirmed, and if we can find 22 votes, that will change the results of the election,” he said. “If we get more than that, we’ll file the suit.”

Official poll watcher’s reports from the election had few complaints, though there was a report of a candidate standing within the restricted 600 feet around the polls, and of supporters of a candidate wearing T-shirts in the restricted area at another precinct.

Campaigning and campaign materials are not allowed within 600 feet of polls.