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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Electioneering Complaints Forwarded to Lawrence County Prosecutor - TM Photographer complaint

LAWRENCE COUNTY - JUNE 29, 2022 - Two electioneering complaints have been forwarded to the Lawrence County Prosecutor Sam Arp II office. The complaint about a Times Mail photographer entering a polling site without proper credentials have been handled by the Lawrence County Election Board.

Lawrence County Election Board members left to right: Don Robertson, Democrat, John Williams Jr., Republican, and Billie Tumey Lawrence County Clerk

The Lawrence County Election board consists of Don Robertson Democrat, John Williams Jr., Republican and Billie Tumey Lawrence County Clerk.

The first electioneering complaint filed on Lawrence County Republican chairman Heath Hawkins in a hearing held on June 9th and today's hearing on Rob German will be sent to the Lawrence County Prosecutor's office for review.

In a vote by the Lawrence County Election Board they voted to ban Perry Reynolds from working the polls due to his action on Election Day for allowing a Times Mail reporter and photographer to enter a polling site without proper credentials.

The Lawrence County Election Board listened to Rob German and Sara Hillenburg's testimony of the events on what occurred that day. At the begining of the hearing the election board asked all parties who was going to be speaking that day to stand and be sworn in.

Later during the hearing German's wife asked to speak, and be sworn in however, Don Robertson refused to let her testify during the hearing.

The election board is only a investigative body and cannot issue any type of punishment for any findings at the hearing.

German is alleged to reenter the polling site after voting and asked for a " I voted" sticker. He came up to the Sheriff's table. According to the complaint he said " Well If the Democrats were running the election, we could vote twice,"

During the testimony on Wednesday German deines mentioning any political party. However he did mention that " can I vote a second time, oh wrong party," to the Mark Bryant who was the sheriff for the Republican party inside the polling shute when the alleged incident ocurred.

Rob German's complaint against Sara Hillenburg was dismissed by the election board for referring to German as "lurch". The election board stated this did not happen on election day but occurred when Hillenburg was filing a complaint against German as a way of identifying him.

On Wednesday the election board did not refer the complaint on a Times - Mail reporter from the Times Mail without any credentials to the prosecutor's office. However, they did vote to ban Perry Reynolds from working any election for allowing the photographer to enter into the polling place without them.

Both Sheriff's for the Republican Party, and Democrat Party asked for his credentials and he was not able to to produce any. He was first denied access to the polling area however the inspector Perry Reynolds told him it was okay for him to take a couple of photos and leave. According to Mark Bryant he took a couple of photos and left.

According to Sarah Hillenburg, Sheriff for the Democrat Party she asked everyone for credentials that day.

The reporter told her that he did not have any, but a business card. Hillenburg was told by Perry Reynolds " We do not give the press a hard time,"

According to Hillenburg " the only way anyone working inside the polls knows someone coming in for some other reason than voting is by credentials. If creditals is not a requirement then the power to let somone in is taking away from the election board who is taken a lot of time to think and debate it. It gives the power to the people who volunteered to work the election and are just there for 12 hours and go home,"

According to the Lawrence County Election board Perry Reynolds did not attend the required training on Saturday prior to the election. Reynolds did received training on the Monday prior to the election by Lawrence County Clerk Billie Tumey.

The election board stated the Sheriff's at the polling site did their job properly and the inspector site did not.

Lawrence County Zephyr obtained credentials to enter the polling site one week prior to the election. Lawrence County Zephyr does not take photos inside the polling site, but only to obtain how many have cast ballots at certain times throughout the election day.

During this years election several complaints were fielded by the Voter Registration office about campaign workers crowding the potential voters at Needmore School and Mitchell Community Center. The Lawrence County Sherriff's Department responded to the Needmore site to investigate those complaints.

The election board will look at better ways to protect the polling shute which is 50 feet from the actual polling site. The poll sheriffs only have the power to enforce rules and laws of the polling site.

Signs are placed at two locations at each polling site to inform voters of the rules and laws at each site.

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