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Board of Elections officials working to clarify voter rolls after candidates raise questions

Lindy Tudor has a number of concerns about the November General Election and he's seeking some answers.

He's not alone.

So are Jerry Randolph, Dexter Lovins and Wayne Shelton.

At issue is whether or not more than 100 registered voters were legitimately placed in the proper voting district during the Nov. 4 General Election. During that time, Mr. Tudor was a candidate for the District 6 seat on the McDuffie County Board of Education, along with five other candidates.

Mr. Tudor ended up losing the election by 41 votes. But because none of the candidates received 50 percent of the votes plus one, a runoff was necessary between the top two vote-getters - Dexter Lovins and Steve Strouble. The runoff election was held on Tuesday.

A special called meeting of the McDuffie County Board of Elections was held last Wednesday at the elections office in an attempt to resolve some of the questions from Mr. Tudor and others who attended. The board of elections was represented by Chairman Bill Beckum, Bobby Rogers and Peggy Lovejoy. Also attending the meeting was McDuffie County Elections Director Phyllis Wheeler.

As a result of Mr. Tudor's inquiry into alleged discrepancies, a number of voters originally declared eligible to cast ballots in the General Election were not eligible to vote in Tuesday's runoff election.

"Some were and some weren't," according to Mrs. Wheeler.

Mr. Lovins wondered why those voters weren't allowed to vote in Tuesday's runoff election, if they were eligible to have voted in the General Election.

"I think we're being a little inconsistent in what we're doing," Mr. Lovins said, adding he had been receiving phone calls from potential voters and wanted to know what to tell them before Tuesday's runoff election.

His opponent in the runoff election, Mr. Strouble, did not attend the meeting.

Mr. Randolph, who is a current member of the McDuffie County Board of Education, meanwhile, questioned whether or not the district lines are correct, too.

"That is something I cannot say," replied Mr. Beckum, adding that he had discussed the issue with Robert E. Knox, who serves as the attorney for the local school board.

After much discussion, Mr. Beckum and Mr. Rogers voted that elections board members would go out and examine Boneville Road last Friday and then get with Fred Guerrant concerning whether or not addresses in that area of the county are correct. Ms. Lovejoy was not present when the vote was taken. She was filling in as a substitute teacher that day and had returned to class.

Mr. Beckum repeatedly emphasized that if anything was done wrong, that he and his fellow elections board members wanted it corrected.

"As far as I know, that's what has been done," Mr. Beckum said. "I want it to be right. We have a duty to get things right."

Ms. Wheeler agreed, saying, "We all do, but we've got to work together."

Mr. Tudor said that of the 102 voters in question "could have changed the whole outlook" of last month's school board election involving him. "I could maybe have won enough of those votes to have gotten into the runoff election, who knows," Mr. Tudor said.

Ms. Wheeler pointed out that since the General Election, she has corrected as many as 37 voters on Moose Club Road. She also said that she had done a portion of them on Boneville Road, but because board of elections officials were now looking into that area, she'd rather wait on saying how many potential voters might be affected.

"I have fixed Moose Club Road, but I'm still not sure about Boneville Road and Randall Hunt Road," Ms. Wheeler said.

Mr. Tudor, a railroad employee, who had sought political office for the first time, said he wasn't addressing these concerns because he's a sore loser.

"Sure, I was disappointed that I didn't win," Mr. Tudor said. "But what I'm concerned about is that the general election wasn't done right, and the bottom line is, I want to know what is going to be done about these concerns that I've raised."

Mr. Randolph explained during the meeting that he had emailed Mr. Beckum several times back in the summer about various concerns and wondered why they had not been addressed before now.

"Nobody seemed to care back then," Mr. Randolph said. "It ain't like we just found out about this. That's what irritates me."

Web posted on Thursday, December 04, 2008

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