In Dec. 31 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
A group of local residents have filed a lawsuit in circuit court in conjunction with November's “moist” election that was held in Jamestown in an attempt to void the results of that election.
The action was filed last Wednesday by Russell County residents Billy Dunbar, Rick Neff, Tony Salyers, Thomas “Ham” Skaggs and Linda P. Stephens.
The group's wishes are to see the results from the election set aside and voided due to a variety of reasons that were outlined in the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit the petitioners contest the propriety and legality of the local option election within the Lake and Jamestown Precincts.
In Count I, the residents allege that the petitions filed with the county clerk on September 1st were “fatally flawed” in that the petitions failed to “properly identify any territory which had a legal right to vote in a local option election.”
The lawsuit reads that under state law any local option elections could only be held within an entire county or an entire city and not in precincts where portions were located within Jamestown and parts were located outside the city's limits.
In Count II, the lawsuit alleges that the questions on the ballot were also “fatally flawed because they were never supposed to vote on a local option petition solely within their respective precincts.”
In Count III, the citizens allege single and double voting as some voters voted multiple times, once in relation to the question posed to the city and once for either the Jamestown or Lake Precinct, and those who lived only in the precincts but not the city, just voted once.
They claim had the petitions been legally correct, the eligible voters would have had only one legally valid question to answer.
In Count IV, the lawsuit alleges that while some in the county had one vote and others had two votes, a large number of eligible county voters had no vote at all. Count V states that the eligibility to vote in the election was also in question as adequate policies and procedures were not followed in determining citizens' right to vote.
Lastly in Count VI, the lawsuit says Jamestown residents are left with uncertainty of whether alcoholic beverages can be sold within the city's criteria-met restaurant establishments, since the voters voted down the specific question regarding alcohol sales just within the city, but voted for alcohol sales within both the Lake and Jamestown Precincts, both of which contain parts of the city of Jamestown.
The petitioners request a trial by jury in order to set forth their evidence and rebuttal and “respectfully pray” for the court to issue a findings of fact that sets forth those factual findings that proves that one or more grounds set forth in the lawsuit are valid as well as asks the court to issue a Conclusions of Law that determines as a matter of law that the local option election within the precincts was illegal and voidable as a matter of law.
Lastly, the petitioners asked the court to issue judgment voiding the election results from the Nov. 24 election.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the County Board of Election Commissioners, Victor Hill, Daryl Robertson, Sheriff Larry Bennett and County Clerk Lisha Popplewell. Also, Circuit Judge Vernon Miniard was named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
Officials from the Alcohol Beverage Control in Frankfort will be at the January 11 meeting of the Russell County Fiscal Court to discuss the alcohol ordinance and administrator position that was discussed this month.