A hearing was to get underway this morning at the courthouse in a suit filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel against Neshoba County Circuit Clerk Patti Duncan Lee, alleging she “withheld voter records” while his representative canvased ballots from the June 24 Republican runoff election in the race for U. S. Senate. In the suit, McDaniel claimed that Lee allegedly withheld voting records when two people representing his campaign went to canvass the ballots in the Neshoba County courthouse in early July. In response to the suit, Lee said she “properly followed the law” and gave McDaniel’s representatives more than what they wanted. Circuit Court Judge, Place 1 Marcus Gordon was to preside over the hearing beginning at 9 a.m. In the midst of McDaniel’s quest for voting irregularities, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled Thursday that circuit clerks must redact voters’ birth dates before poll books are open for public inspection.
The Justices ruled that poll books are controlled by the state Public Records Act, which specifies that Social Security numbers, telephone numbers, dates of birth and age information must be removed before the public can examine certain documents.
McDaniel, represented by plaintiffs attorney Mitch Tyner of Jackson, filed a writ of mandamus on July 10 commanding Lee to “obey and perform the requirements of state law.” The suit claims Lee denied McDaniel representatives access to poll books and other election materials due to “privacy concerns” and “public records disclosure requirements.”
McDaniel is claiming that as a candidate he has more of a right to access election records than a “member of the general public.” Lee said she followed the law and believes Judge Gordon will rule just like the state Supreme Court ruled last Thursday. She said she gave the duo what they wanted, a ballot box examination which allowed them the review the contents in the boxes.