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Georgia Judicial Candidate Normarene Merritt Files Election Challenge

'Merritt Challenges Election Results Based on Improbability and Possible Fraud'

Nov. 26, 2008, 1 a.m. -  While the eye of the nation is focused on Georgia as it resolves a highly contested Senatorial race, Cobb County judicial candidate Normarene Merritt wants answers from the results of her race that appear improbable and possibly fraudulent. Democrat Merritt has filed a complaint against the Cobb County Election Board asserting the results of her Nov. 4 Magistrate Court race against incumbent Republican Frank Cox was wrought with irregularities in the tabulation, total vote count and votes allocated by precinct.

Votes Exceeded Top Ballot

 

At issue is the total of votes cast for her down ballot race that far exceed those of the top ballot races including President and Senator. Georgia utilizes the controversial Diebold voting machines that do not leave a paper trail once votes have been cast. “My opponent received more votes than John McCain and Saxy Chambliss,” said Merritt. “This is highly unusual for a Magistrate court race, particularly since it was not highly contentious.” Cobb County experienced a heavy influx of early and advanced voting from African Americans exceeding 42,000 votes cast before Nov. 4. On election night, those votes were all lumped into a single “dummy precinct” leaving Merritt and other African American candidates with no means to track their voting base by home precincts or demographics. According to Merritt, she and her supporters deserve to know where those votes went after they cast them. “This is a serious issue for all voters because to lump all early, advanced and absentee votes into one generic precinct lends itself to fraud … we are not able to track how many of those votes represent my voter base or the African American communities.”

County Demographics Changing

Cobb County, located in metropolitan Atlanta was once a Republican stronghold producing national politicians like Bob Barr and Newt Gingrich. But an influx of African Americans resettling from politically astute southwest Atlanta and transients from out of state who relocated for employment with companies like Home Depot and IBM has shifted the county into a Democrat slant on the southern end while diluting hardcore Republican communities on the northern end. A recent local print article indicated the county is one election cycle away from turning to blue

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from red. Merritt is one of many African Americans who challenged Republican incumbents in this election cycle, all who lost their contests by margins many reflect are “suspicious” in nature. Close to 25 percent of the total population is African American but no Black has ever been appointed or elected to magistrate or superior court despite shifting party trends.

Merritt is scheduled for a hearing on Dec. 4, two days after the Senatorial race is to be decided. She is asking for an investigation into the results and  requesting all votes and relating documents be preserved for inspection including the controversial voting machines used. She is also asking that those votes assigned to “dummy precincts” be identified by home precincts. In a related issue an open records request to view voting tabulations and machines made by a concerned citizen was granted but set for the week of Dec. 8. 

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