Wilkinson election contest resumes

Published 12:21 am Friday, February 15, 2008

WOODVILLE— After a myriad of delays, the election contest in Wilkinson County resumed on Thursday.

The most compelling testimony of the day came from twin sisters Latosha and Latonia Goodrich.

Both sisters admitted to being complicit in voter fraud.

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Both also testified under full immunity from prosecution, provided they were honest in their testimony.

Latosha took the stand first.

Latosha testified that she has lived in Jackson since 1999 and has regularly voted, via absentee ballot, in Woodville elections.

“It is my home,” she said.

Latosha went on to say two to three weeks before the Aug. 7, 2007, elections she and her sister met with Connie Hollins in the parking lot of a Texaco in Byram.

Goodrich said the meeting was to allow the sisters and their brother, Roy, an opportunity to vote.

Neither Latosha nor Latonia had registered for absentee voting.

Coincidentally, Hollins is the sister of District 2 Supervisor Richard Hollins.

Richard Hollins’ win in August’s election is being challenged in the contest.

When Connie Hollins arrived at the gas station, she had three envelopes complete with blank ballots.

Latosha said when Hollins handed out the ballots she then instructed the sisters who to vote for.

“I was coached,” she said.

Latosha said she was specifically told to vote for Richard Hollins, Mon Cree Allen and Reginald Jackson.

The votes that elected Allen, Jackson and Hollins have all been contested.

Latosha said after she filled out the ballot as she had been instructed, Hollins notarized it on the trunk of the car.

The ballot was then placed in an envelope that had been signed by Latosha.

Since Latosha’s brother Roy was unable to meet at the gas station, Latosha proceeded to fill out his ballot also.

Roy’s ballot was filled out and then notarized by Hollins.

Latosha testified that she signed her brother’s signature across the seal on the envelope, all without his knowledge.

She went on to say that she did not think what she had done was wrong because she trusted Hollins and Hollins assured her everything was legitimate.

“(Hollins) knows the law and she said it was OK,” she said.

Latonia, Latosha’s sister told almost the exact same story.

For the last one and a half years Latonia has lived in Byram.

Latonia also said she was coached by Hollins on who to vote for.

“I marked whatever (Hollins) told me to mark,” she said.

However, Latonia said her envelope was wet and the ballot could not be placed inside.

Latonia said she signed the ballot and gave it to Hollins.

The ballot was not notarized Latonia said.

Since the Woodville elections took place on Aug. 7, 2007, allegations of voter fraud and box stuffing have led to a contest hearing.

The trial will resume this morning.

Judge Jim Persons said he hopes to have the trial finished by Feb. 23.