Commission chairman waves off complaint about clerk’s filing

The chairman of the Jefferson County Election Commission refused a request Friday night to forward to the prosecutor a complaint that Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson violated state law when she allegedly amended and backdated her Political Practices Pledge.

The form is filled out by political candidates and is used to show how the candidate wants his or her name to appear on the ballot. According to the form, a candidate cannot change how they want their name printed on the ballot after the filing period closes.

Commissioner Stu Soffer made the complaint, saying that Johnson’s initial form, which was dated Feb. 25, listed her only her name while a second form, which was also dated Feb. 25, indicated that she wanted to be listed on the ballot as County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson.

Soffer accused Johnson of backdating and filing the second form after Trey Ashcraft filed to run against her on March 3, the final day of the filing period.

Commission Chairman Ted Davis said his understanding of the situation was that an employee of Johnson’s in the county clerk’s office typed the form for Johnson and mistakenly omitted Johnson’s title, so Johnson submitted an amended form to correct the omission.

“There was no malicious intent as I understand it,” Davis said.

Soffer again said the two forms should be sent to the prosecutor but Davis again said “no.

“Based on my understanding of the situation, I vote no,” Davis said.

The third member of the commission, Cynthia Sims, did not cast a vote that could be heard from the audience.

“Are you voting no because you used the fax machine in the clerk’s office to send out Democratic Party material or because she’s your vice-chairman?” Soffer asked Davis, who is also chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Central Committee.

Davis did not reply to the question. He told Soffer that if he wanted to contact the prosecutor about the matter, he could do so.