Sheriff’s candidate files complaint about ballot drawing

A candidate for Jefferson County sheriff has filed a complaint with the State Board of Election Commissioners alleging that Jefferson County Election Commission Chairman Ted Davis used his position to give the complainant’s opponent in the Democratic primary a different ballot position than was drawn for.

Roger McLemore says in the complaint, which was filed Tuesday, that a drawing for ballot positions was held March 7 during a meeting of the election commission with three names of candidates listed on a document containing a list of ballot positions to be drawn for.

Those names were McLemore, incumbent Sheriff Gerald Robinson and James Murray, who was incorrectly listed as Murry on the document.

Robinson was present and drew a two, and a representative of McLemore drew a one, which would place Murray in the third position on the ballot.

Commissioner Stu Soffer, the Republican Party representative on the commission questioned Murray being on the ballot as a Democrat and Jefferson County Clerk Patricia Royal Johnson confirmed that Murray had filed as an Independent.

Murray’s name was removed. According to the complaint Davis then told Robinson: “Sheriff, you get two shots at this,” or words to that effect.

“Since Murray was initially placed in position there was no justification to redraw for the sheriff ballot positions other than for Chairman Davis to give his friend an opportunity to knock me out of the first ballot position,” McLemore said in the complaint. “Fortunately, Sheriff Robinson again rolled a two.”

McLemore says state statutes provide that the order of candidates names appearing on a ballot are determined by lot at a public meeting and the “commonly accepted practice has been that there are no ‘re-do’s’ of the drawing unless there are extra-ordinary circumstances related to the drawing. There were none related to the drawing that evening.”

Soffer, who is also a member of the state board, said Wednesday he would recuse from hearing the complaint.