Politics & Government

Magoffin County judge-executive appeals to state Supreme Court in election-fraud case

Attorneys for Magoffin County Judge-Executive Charles "Doc" Hardin on Wednesday asked the state Supreme Court to review a lower-court decision that would force Hardin out of office.

Hardin, a Democrat, can remain in office while his case is pending before the state's highest court.

Republican challenger John P. Montgomery received more votes than Hardin on Election Day in November 2014, but Hardin received far more absentee votes, winning by 28 votes. Montgomery alleged fraud by Hardin and improper conduct by county election officials, including giving absentee ballot applications to ineligible voters.

Hardin denied wrongdoing, but a circuit court judge threw out the election results and declared the office vacant. The Court of Appeals let that decision stand.

Hardin's attorneys, James L. Deckard and Eldred E. Adams, argue that the Appeals Court decision was based on theories at odds with prior decisions and was not supported by facts. There has been no evidence presented that Hardin had any direct involvement in wrongdoing or any knowledge of it, according to his motion.

Additionally, Hardin's motion says the lower-court decision merits review because it would set new, less-stringent standards for overturning elections that would lead to a "cottage industry" of challenges.