Lawsuit says dead people, felons voted in Magoffin election

bestep@herald-leader.comNovember 24, 2010 

Bribery and votes by felons and dead people contaminated the November general election in Magoffin County, two losing candidates have charged in lawsuits.

Sheriff Randall Bob Jordan and John P. Montgomery, who ran for judge-executive, said in the court actions that a man allied with their opponents paid "numerous voters" at least $100 each to buy their votes.

The man, identified as Randy Salyer, had voters sign their names on blank absentee ballots and then presumably filled them out later for the candidates Salyer was backing, the lawsuits allege.

The lawsuits say more than 1,000 people voted by absentee ballot in each of the two races on Nov. 2, out of about 6,000 votes cast.

The candidates say in the lawsuits that they doubt that many people were out of the county on Election Day.

The "astonishingly high" number of absentee votes demonstrates evidence of fraud, the lawsuits say.

Election observers view an absentee vote total above 5 percent as a red flag.

Jordan, a Democrat, lost re-election to Republican challenger Carson Montgomery by 89 votes out of about 6,000 cast.

John P. Montgomery lost to incumbent Judge-Executive Charles "Doc" Hardin, a Democrat, by 310 votes, Montgomery's suit said.

Prestonsburg attorney Ned Pillersdorf said he filed the separate lawsuits for Jordan and John Montgomery Tuesday in Magoffin Circuit Court.

The lawsuits list Carson Montgomery, Hardin and the county election board as defendants.

The lawsuits said it is believed that Carson Montgomery and Hardin also took part in vote-buying.

However, Hardin said he has never taken part in illegal election activities.

"I categorically deny any personal involvement or personal knowledge of anything illegal or unethical in the election," Hardin said Tuesday evening.

Attempts to reach Carson Montgomery and Salyer were not successful.

The lawsuits seek a judgment declaring Jordan and John P. Montgomery as the winners of their races.

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