Monday, November 10, 2014

Mullin Election Case May Become A Supreme Court Battle

The late Earl Everett, candidate
 Oklahoma's congressional delegation involves 5 Representatives, one of whom is Republican Markwayne Mullin, representing the traditional "Little Dixie" Democrat region and the Eastern side of Oklahoma.
  His little-known Democrat challenger was Earl Everett, a retired school teacher & Korean War veteran.  Earl died on Sunday, about 50 hours before the polls closed in the general election he was a part of.
  Now, the poorly-written state law indicates that a party nominee needs to be replaced by a substitute candidate (of the party's choosing), and the state is supposed to scrap the general election for that office & replace it with a special election involving all the living candidates plus the one replacement candidate. But the law seems silent about how to initiate the action? Does the dead person's party need to file a Contest Of Election with the state election board, in order to initiate the remedy? Or does the Governor have to be omniscient and even while campaigning in her own re-election she needs to be aware of the life status of every candidate in the state? If it's the governor's job to know and initiate all action, I can just imagine the resulting daily robo-calls to all party nominees:
  • [phone rings to candidate during a stump speech]: "Hello, this is the governor's office, calling  daily, to make sure every candidate is still alive. If you are alive, press 1 ."
  It would be sensible to assume the affected party needs to notify the election board that they no longer have a living candidate, even though voting is already underway. 
Wallace Collins
ODP Chair
  Everything seems to hinge on whether the Democratic Party filed the contest by Friday at 5pm. (assuming a contest is needed to trigger the nullification of the 2nd District balloting). The Oklahoma Democrat State Chairman, Wallace Collins, complained to the media, last Friday; but there remains no report of a filing of contest at the state election board.
"Hello, this is the governor's office, calling  daily, to make sure every candidate is still alive.
If you are alive, press 1 .
  It's sort of a "statute of limitations." and I do not believe it can be extended after the fact.    And it may be subject to certification by the 2015 State legislature, as was mentioned in the legal case involving the Tulsa District Attorney case (Kunzweiler v Jordan)
  This is going to be challenged by Democrats in Oklahoma District  court & deferred to  the Oklahoma Supreme Court. 

Badly-written laws result in governance by edict & questionable precedent.

  If this does result in a December ruling from the Oklahoma Supreme Court, it could trigger a  Federal case.
David Van Risseghem
  And this may even go to the US Supreme Court, because in Bush v Gore, the Federal ruling states that the power to determine a state's representation was given to the legislatures of each state and not the courts of those states.

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