Two election complaints filed in Boyle

November 03, 2004|HERB BROCK

Two complaints of possible election law violations were made to Boyle County Clerk Denise Curtsinger, and she has referred them to the state Attorney General's office. That office handled one of the complaints and turned the other over to the state Board of Elections; the board then referred it to the Boyle County Board of Elections.

In one complaint, a voter was "concerned that a precinct officer was overstepping bounds as far as discussing the ballot," Curtsinger said. She declined to give any more details about the complaint, including the precinct officer's name or the precinct where the alleged violation occurred.

She said the state Board of Elections referred the complaint to the local Board of Elections. She said the complaint, plus any others that may be referred to the board, will be reviewed at the board's next meeting on Nov. 18.

In one complaint, Boyle County Republican Party chairman Tom McClain voiced concerns about a potluck dinner and rally at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday for U.S. 6th District Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles, at the Centenary United Methodist Church Christian Life Center on Perryville Road.


McClain said in a letter Monday to Curtsinger that he was concerned about the Chandler event because the center was being used as the voting station for the Millennium Park and Boyle County High School precincts. The two voting booths were located in the main entrance foyer of the center, while the Chandler event was held in a room off the foyer.

The Chandler event was scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m., and Chandler, who was re-elected, was to arrive at 6:30 p.m. McClain said voting could still be taking place after 6 p.m. if there was still a line of voters at that time. He said those voters could possibly be influenced by the presence of Chandler campaign personnel setting up their event and Chandler supporters arriving for it.

McClain cited a line in the Precinct Officers' Quick Reference Guide that says, "... the following may not be in the polling place: candidates and/or their family members, campaign workers - either for a candidate or for a question on the ballot." He also cited the state law banning electioneering at a polling place or within 300 feet of the entrance to the building used as a polling place.

McClain said the Chandler event, which later was joined by David Sparrow, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for 54th district state representative, and his supporters, as well as many other Democrats, clearly was a campaign event and appeared to conflict with the rules that precinct officers must enforce and the ban on electioneering at polling places.

McClain said he received no response to the letter he sent Monday to Curtsinger. He said he sent a second Tuesday afternoon. He also sent copies to Secretary of State Trey Grayson, state Rep. Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, and Republican attorneys in Louisville.

Attorney General's investigator comes to Danville

An investigator from the attorney general's office came to the location before the Chandler event started and stayed until the time the poll was closed, said office spokesperson Vicki Glass.

"Before we went to Danville, we contacted the Chandler campaign (about McClain's concerns) and they agreed not to have any campaign staff present while voting was going on and not to start the event until all voting was completed," Glass said. "Our investigator said no violations occurred."

Curtsinger said she went to the center at 5:40 p.m., when the event was being set up and voting was ending. She said people involved with the event were "just bringing in food and putting up bunting" and were not displaying or handing out any campaign signs, cards or other similar materials. She also said those people entered the room where the event was held through a back entrance instead of entering though the main entrance foyer where the two voting booths were located. She also said paper had been placed over windows to the room.

"I saw no kind of impropriety," Curtsinger said. "Nothing happened, nothing."

However, McClain said today he is still concerned. "I respectfully disagree with those conclusions (from the attorney general's office and Curtsinger)," he said. "I believe, and so does (Secretary of State Grayson), that it was a clear violation of election law. And the interesting thing is, Ben Chandler, a former attorney general, should have known that it was, too."

Grayson could not be reached for comment.

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