The two-inch-thick “Election Integrity Challenge” binder, compiled and released by the U.S. Senate campaign of state Sen. Chris McDaniel, documents everything from alleged vote-buying schemes to illegal crossover voters to race-baiting tactics allegedly used by U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran’s campaign. Only thing, the presented evidence does not appear to add up to a pattern of election irregularities substantial enough to force a new election the McDaniel campaign hoped for. Not even the Mississippi Republican Party thinks the McDaniel camp’s claims warrant a hurried meeting of the state executive committee to review all the documents. On the night of Aug. 6, the state GOP punted and told McDaniel to take his issues to a state court instead. They have until Aug. 14 to seek judicial review. McDaniel’s campaign distributed its 250 pages of evidence to members of the news media as well as the Republican Party officials. However, the evidence the McDaniel campaign offers poses just as many questions as it purports to answer.
For example, Exhibit A of the complaint is a CD of, among other things, an interview a man named Patrick Frey conducted with a woman with knowledge of a vote-buying plan. Frey is a colleague of California blogger Charles C. Johnson, who has been covering the Senate race for conservative online news organizations.
In the complaint to the state GOP, McDaniel lawyers say the recording is Julie Patrick, a Republican poll worker in a predominantly Democratic precinct of Marshall County. “She describes her observations of voters leaving her precinct discussing how to use the vouchers they were given to get paid for voting,” the complaint states.
However, the recording is actually of a woman relaying what her mother told her about her experience at the Marshall County polls. The woman in the recording indicates that her mother watched the bailiff leave the precinct several times to make phone calls and then heard the bailiff instructing voters how to cash in vouchers that she handed out. “She was very upset and felt like they were buying votes,” the woman said.