Members of the Senate’s Special Committee to Resolve Election Contests may soon decide who will serve as the Senator for District 37. The decision may come as soon as today.
The Senate’s five-member special committee worked late into the night yesterday, listening to testimony on former Republican Senator Melanie Sojourner’s challenge to last November’s general election loss to Democrat Bob Dearing, the former Senator she unseated four years ago.
Sojourner, who lost by 64 votes, claims a number of incomplete absentee and affidavit ballots were counted and election workers improperly assisted voters at the polls.
She says she just want to make sure every vote is counted correctly.
“My utmost wish has always been that the integrity of the law will be upheld,” says Sojourner. “That absolutely, we know, that the votes that were counted lawfully, or some action take place so that voters can have the assurance that they know that every vote is counted lawfully.
To prove that point, counsel for Sojourner presented testimony from a voter, and past and present poll workers who claim they witnessed the impropriety.
Dearing's counsel refuted those accusations by noting that the witnesses were also the source of a number of complaints and reprimands from the Secretary of State’s official representative.
Dearing believes the committee will see things his way.
“It’s an experience I don’t wish on anyone,” Dearing says. “I won the election by 64 votes. I’ve been certified by the Secretary of State. I’ve got al the confidence in the world in my attorney.”
Lawmakers will hear closing arguments from lawyers representing Sojourner and Dearing later today. The committee will deliberate and then present their findings to the full Senate who will decide who will take the now currently vacant seat.