"I have checked with the Sheriff's Department, and the doors were not locked before four o'clock," confirmed Gayle Carter, deputy clerk. The Sheriff's office has also confirmed that the doors were open until 4 p.m.
Carter said people in her office saw Hacker walking around the building after 4 p.m. that day, and invited him in the office when he approached the front door. At that point, Clerk George O. Spoonamore III told Hacker he could not accept his petition to file, since the official time stamp showed it was after the deadline. Hacker contested, saying he would have been in the office in time if the side doors near the Sheriff's Office had not been locked.
Spoonamore then called the Secretary of State in Frankfort, who confirmed his decision, said Carter. "He was assured that if it was a second after four o'clock, they were not to take the document."
Spoonamore said he knew the deadline had passed, and that his decision was the right one.
"He said four o'clock is four o'clock, and not to worry about it," Spoonamore said. "It's not like it's the first time [Hacker's] filed."
According to an envelope stamped by the machine and then shown to Hacker, it was "absolutely not even close" to deadline, said Carter.
Hacker said his tardiness was a product of the prematurely locked doors, that "held me up anywhere from six to nine minutes."
He now has three options to protest the decision, said Hacker, including filing a civil lawsuit against the clerk's office. He is now in the process of hiring a lawyer, Hacker said, since a write-in campaign would be difficult and expensive, and Frankfort officials have said they would not reverse their decision on his tardy petition.
"Knowing I keep the watch fast, I didn't know how I could be late," Hacker said.