Election trial to resume

Published 12:59 am Friday, November 16, 2007

VIDALIA — After a two-day break, the trial for the contested Concordia Parish sheriff’s election will resume this morning.

Fourth District Judge Sharon Marchman will preside over the hearing.

Testimony for the contest thus far has largely been witnesses called by the plaintiff, Glenn Lipsey, but it is expected that respondent Sheriff Randy Maxwell’s legal team will take up arguments today.

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More than 40 witnesses testified in the proceedings Monday and Tuesday, and more will take the stand today.

The Maxwell team hopes they will be able to finish their case today, Maxwell’s attorney Jack McLemore Jr. said.

Once the hearing is complete, Marchman has 24 hours to render a verdict.

When the Lipsey legal team amended their initial petition earlier this week, they dropped the allegations of transportation of prisoners to the polls on Election Day, McLemore said.

Prisoners who have not been convicted of a felony are allowed to vote by absentee ballot.

The allegation that convicted felon who had lost the right to vote because of the nature of his crime but was allowed to vote was left in the amended petition, but has since been dropped, McLemore said.

Much of the previous testimony in the case has concerned Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office employees who allegedly have homes outside the parish but also have registered addresses in the parish and voted in the election.

To be qualified to vote, a voter must live in the parish in which their vote is cast.

Sheriff’s Office employees are also required to live in the parish for which they are commissioned. Several employees testified they were told they had to register to vote.

The CPSO policy manual requires that employees be residents of Concordia Parish and that they register to vote, McLemore said.

“It doesn’t require that they vote,” he said.

The election contest was filed after Lipsey lost the Oct. 20 primary election by 21 votes.