Contact Brad White 601-948-5191 brad@msgop.

org For Immediate Release 05/13/2010 News Release

Consent Decree settles 2008 dispute; safeguards future elections
Circuit Court Judge Jannie M. Lewis recently approved a consent decree requiring Leflore County to comply with Mississippi election law regarding voter assistance, unauthorized loitering at precincts, poll watcher rights, and ballot security. “Essentially, this court order requires Leflore County to follow Mississippi election laws. In the past, if they violated the law, we would have to get a judge to investigate and make a ruling and just like this, it would be months or years after the election before anything was settled. Now, if Leflore County violates these laws, we can ask the Sheriff to enforce this court order while the election is still going on,” explained Brad White, Mississippi Republican Party Chairman. White continued, “This order is a win for fair elections in Leflore County and provides a blueprint for other counties to make sure those running elections follow the law.” The Mississippi Republican Party filed suit following the November 2008 election, when Republican poll watchers and observers from the Secretary of State Office documented abuses including voter intimidation, the illegal directing of voters on whom to vote, the removal of ballots from the voting area, and the improper restriction of lawful poll watchers. Individuals illegally loitering in the precinct were voting for or instructing voters on who to cast their vote, which included improperly influencing votes for Democrat Ronnie Musgrove for U.S. Senate. The lawsuit asked the Court to issue a writ of mandamus to bind the defendants and their successors to properly execute their responsibilities in future elections because the misdeeds were "capable of repetition, yet evading review" in future elections. The consent decree settles the lawsuit without Leflore County admitting fault; yet agreeing to comply to the Republican demands. Key provisions of the order: • Voting assistance is only allowed “if the voter alone requests permission for assistance from a poll worker and does so solely based upon the expressed grounds of blindness, disability or illiteracy. No request for assistance shall be allowed from a person other than the voter. No one shall be allowed in the polling location nor the surrounding area…to ask potential voters if they require assistance in voting. No one other than a person lawfully providing voter assistance may be allowed to observe a voter cast his or her vote.” The order “excludes unauthorized individuals from the polling location and thirty (30) feet in every direction from the polls…no persons shall be allowed in the

polling location other than voters, persons from whom the voter properly requests assistance…authorized poll watchers and officers of the election.” • That “properly credentialed poll watchers must be allowed a suitable position to carefully inspect the…election…must allow the poll watcher the ability…to properly challenge the qualifications of any person offering to vote.” “Voters by affidavit ballot may not take ballots into adjourning rooms which are not within the supervision and eye sight of the poll workers.” The consent decree must be posted at each precinct in Leflore County and each poll manager and election bailiff shall be given a copy during poll worker training.

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“The Mississippi Republican Party is serious about fair, honest, and secure elections and we will continue to work to protect voters to ensure their votes are not stolen or canceled out by dishonest activity,” White said. Lewis signed the consent decree on April 9. The document is attached. # # # end # # #