Skip to comments.Voter Case Solved, Says Harold Ford Sr. (Multiple Dead Tennessee Voters Fraud Case)
Posted on 12/17/2005 10:41:46 PM PST by mcg2000
The district attorney, the TBI and the Election Commission haven't talked to the first witness, yet Harold Ford Sr. says his own probe of Shelby County's dead voter scandal is done.
The former congressman said he's talked to several poll workers and voters and can link the scandal back to a 71-year-old Republican election judge and a plot to sabotage son Harold Ford Jr.'s bid for the U.S. Senate.
Local Republicans quickly labeled Ford's allegations as "smoke and mirrors" and slanderous.
Following reports that two dead voters cast ballots in the September state Senate race that sister Ophelia Ford won by 13 votes, Harold Ford Sr. has worn out the phone lines from Miami, where he now lives and works as a federal lobbyist.
Ford said he's found the initials of two Democratic election judges appear on ballot applications used to cast votes at a North Memphis polling place for two elderly voters who had died weeks before the Sept. 15 special election.
But that's a false trail, he said. Ford said evidence points to another election judge installed at Precinct 27-1 by Republicans.
Ford said it's a plot to smear his family's name, and, by extension, to sabotage the campaign of his son, Rep. Harold Ford Jr., the Memphis congressman now running for U.S. Senate.
"It's nothing but Harold's race,'' Ford Sr. told The Commercial Appeal on Friday. "That's what this is all about.''
Ford said his investigation points to Martha M. Hensley, 71, a longtime poll worker who he said was acting suspiciously on Election Day and basically took control of the Precinct 27-1 polling place.
"This is slander,'' said Hensley, reached by phone Friday night. Hensley said election officials were short-staffed and practically begged her to work at the precinct, and voting was so slow she spent most of the day reading a book.
She said she knows nothing about any dead voters and is shocked by Ford's allegations.
"I can't believe they said all this," Hensley said. "I'm going down Monday (to the Election Commission) and I'm going to straighten this out.''
Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Bill Giannini called Ford's accusations "smoke and mirrors'' and said he wonders if the influential ex-congressman isn't tampering with an investigation.
"For somebody of his stature to get involved in something like this, to call potential witnesses, is baffling," Giannini said. "I don't know why somebody hasn't stopped him and said you're intefering in this investigation."
Tensions have mounted since Democrat Ophelia Ford squeaked by challenger Terry Roland in the Sept. 15 special election to fill the Dist. 29 state Senate seat vacated by another Ford sibling, John Ford. He resigned in May following his indictment on bribery charges.
Roland is contesting the election results, alleging widespread irregularities. A Senate committee meets Wednesday in Nashville to hear the matter before the full Senate votes next month on whether to seat Ford or Roland.
An investigation by The Commercial Appeal found that the names of two elderly voters who died weeks before the election were used to cast ballots in Precinct 27-1, a Democratic stronghold in North Memphis.
Among 34 votes cast in the precinct, Ford got 32, Roland got one and Robert 'Prince Mongo' Hodges got one.
On Tuesday, Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to conduct a criminal probe. Gibbons said the investigation likely won't begin in earnest until this week.
Answers won't come quickly. The TBI's white-collar crime probes often taken months, and Shelby County Election Commission officials said they won't interview any poll workers or voters until the TBI is done.
Citing the criminal probe, Election Commission Chairman Greg Duckett has denied the newspaper's requests to inspect Precinct 27-1 poll records.
By phone, and with help from associates doing field interviews here, Ford Sr., 60, said he's talked to poll workers and voters.
Ford said he's learned that the initials of two Democratic election judges at Precinct 27-1 are on the Sept. 15 ballot applications of deceased voters Joe L. Light, 70, and Archie L. Kirkwood, 72. Because Light died Aug. 6 and Kirkwood died Aug. 30, neither was around to fill out a ballot application and vote on Sept. 15.
Ford identified the two Democratic election judges as Gertrude Otteridge, 63, and Vatricia A. McKinney, 52.
He said he's been told that their initials -- G.O. and V.A.M. -- appear on the dead voters' ballot applications, forms voters fill out at a polling place before signing the poll book and voting. The Commercial Appeal found signatures of the two dead voters in the Precinct 27-1 poll book, but since the criminal probe opened, Duckett has declined to release the ballot applications.
Efforts to reach Otteridge and McKinney were unsuccessful.
Ford said that although their initials are on the ballots, he doesn't believe they wrote them, but suspects the Republican election judge, Hensley.
Ford said that although Hensley was one of three election judges -- the part-time workers assigned to a polling place to arbitrate disputes and see that rules are followed -- she appointed herself a register, or a frontline worker taking ballot applications.
"Two or three people ... said she kept bragging about her friend (Election Commissioner) Nancy Hines put her on and she's a judge and she can do whatever she wants out here and that kind of thing," Ford said.
Hensley was "very aggressive," Ford said: "I had two people tell me it was a constant thing all day, they wondered why she was counting the votes on the books and in the machines constantly."
Hensley said she doesn't even know who Hines is and spent most of her time at the polling place reading a Harry Potter book. Giannini said he's glad Ford has fingered Hensley because she has "the most impeccable character of anyone I've ever known in my life."
Ford said much of his information comes from another poll worker, Verline Mayo, 68. He said Mayo knows McKinney couldn't have initialed the dead voters' ballot applications because, although records show McKinney was paid $95 to work that day, she never showed up.
Ford said he also interviewed Otteridge, who told him she knew nothing about dead voters.
Interviewed by The Commercial Appeal Wednesday, Mayo said she had no details on the dead voters, but said she had suspicions about "the white lady," a Republican election judge whose name she couldn't recall.
Records show Mayo, Otteridge, McKinney and the late voter Kirkwood all lived for years at the Oates Manor public housing development, torn down last year. McKinney, who now lives in Foote Homes, is the tenants' representative on the Memphis Housing Authority board of commissioners.
Former MHA residents council president James Robinson said he knows Mayo, Otteridge and McKinney and doesn't believe any of them had anything to do with any voter fraud. But he said he believes the largely white TBI won't get too far when its investigation finally gets going.
"Folks will talk to Harold Ford that won't talk to the TBI," he said.
-- Marc Perrusquia: 529-2545
We wuz framed.
Dead voters in Memphis ping.
Hey Harry, you're not the slavemaster of the Memphis plantation no mo. Shut your trap.
I hope Martha sues the hell out of you.
Ford Sr. investigates, but says Democrats didn't rig dead voters
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Sr. said he has started his own investigation into allegations that two dead voters cast ballots in a state Senate election his sister won by a narrow margin.
Ophelia Ford was elected by a 13-vote margin over Republican challenger Terry Roland in a special election to fill the seat vacated by another brother, John Ford, who was indicted in a federal corruption sting.
The state Election Commission and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will look into the election following reports by The Commercial Appeal newspaper that the names of two dead voters were used to cast ballots in a heavily Democratic North Memphis precinct.
Ford did not make any accusations, but he suggested his own Democratic Party was not guilty of election fraud.
"It's gotten to (where people are saying), 'Hey, we're out here voting dead people.' It is clear that is not the case. We know that for a fact," Ford said. "We're going to get all the facts. The other side's got all the information, and I think that they are well aware of what took place and what went on."
Local Republicans called Ford's statements "absurd." "Tell Harold Ford Sr. that the folks at the Flat Earth Society say hello," said Bill Giannini, chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party. "All we said from day one is we wanted this (tight election) to be looked at. And for Harold Ford Sr. to get involved in it at this point is certainly puzzling."
The official margin of victory for the race was certified at 13 votes, but Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Greg Duckett said he believes as many as five ballots may have been forged in Precinct 27-1. Those ballots include the two cast in the names of dead voters as well as three others, he said.
Roland has asked the state Senate for the election results to be overturned.
Ford Sr. also called the newspaper to dispel rumors that his family's funeral home had handled arrangements for the deceased, although a funeral home operator who did also works as an embalmer for the Fords.
The former congressman, who was succeeded in the U.S. House by his son Harold Ford Jr., said he has called some of the voters in the precinct where Republicans spent campaign funds.
"I see the trend where this is going to be headed," he said. "And it's not coming to us."
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Political corruption runs deep in this city. Nothing quite like waking up and realizing that your city's budget deficit has doubled overnight do to some "oversights," right?
Memphis.... *rolls eyes*
we're starting to get a good glimpse into the corrupt state of affairs Nashville has become as well. The state is beginning an ethical spiral.
Ok, so Ford got all 32 legit votes and the two dead people voted for roland and hodges ? Or is it the republican judge was trying a chess gambit where you sacrifice roland to smear Harold Ford ?
Democrats are crooks and that is all there is to it.
Here's an oldie but goodie from August of 2004 ...
Iraqi Delgation Robbed at Gunpoint in Memphis
Here's a blurb from Thaddeus Matthews ... a liberal talk show host in Memphis (yes, he's African-American, Mr. Ford).
Expect the Worst From Harold Sr.
Don't be fooled by the antics that I predict will come from Harold Ford Sr. His concern about dead folk voting is not about his sister Ophelia,but about his son Harold Jr. Who wants to be elected to the U.S.Senate. Many close to the ex-congressman state that Harold Sr wanted Jr. To hold on to his safe seat in congress and not run for the senate. But will support him because that's his son.
Therefore the negatives about the Ford's maybe being involved in voter fraud,will hurt Jr.Ford in middle and east Tenn,where it's already predicted he will lose.So what's a father to do to save his son? Play the them against us game.I predict that Harold will say that the use of dead person names to vote is a republican scheme to destroy the Ford's,take a black seat, and place a republican in a seat that democracts have held for several decades.
I predict that Harold will say that the East Memphis devils are putting a plan in place to keep Jr. Out of the senate. He will try to hitch blacks to a wagon loaded down with bullshit. He will try to farther divide this community for the benefit of his son. But this community must see him for what he is, a self serving former politician who wants to live through his son.
I was speaking tonight with my long time friend Randy Wade, Randy stated that" Its important that people know that the people that have supported Terry Roland are not just white people and republicans,but blacks and cemocracts as well" which is true. I refused to support someone who took the black community for granted and never told us what her platform was.
Randy went on to state that "Every politician black and white of both parties should be grateful to Roland and John Harvey for exposing the fraud that has taken place" it has long been felt that the dead was voting,now there is proof. I'm also glad that Greg Duckett has turn this matter over to the TBI.I also know that the Justice Department has been given notice as to what is going on in Memphis.
We can not allow a rich lobbyist like Harold Sr. Who moved away from the city that made him to control our politics. Harold does not give a damn about what happens to Ophelia other than the fact that if she or others in their employ are involved in voter fraud, then Jr. Can kiss his chances at the senate goodbye.
When you see him playing the race card,remind him that every deck has two jokers. And he happens to be the big joker and Jr. Is the little one.
posted by Thaddeus Matthews @ 12/15/2005 11:34:00 PM
This SOOO Memphis. I laugh...and then shudder. Thanks for posting.
Strategy: The best defense is a good offense.
Tactics: Outrage, denial, and obfuscate by attacking the enemy with baseless claims and liberal use of the race card.
It works. Those who have voted for them at every chance, forget the initial charges and only hear the pied piper. Those who oppose the Fords, become so disgusted and disheartened that they eventually throw up their hands and walk away.
Between the dead and the felons, the Ford family have a built in voter pool.
After New Orleans...Memphis comes an awful close second or third on the corruption list. Elvis may have loved the town...but nobody packs up and moves to Memphis these days. There is a reason for that.
Laughed out loud, when I read that.
For hundreds of years, African-Americans were held in slavery and could not vote until 1865. Women could not vote until 1919. This has lead to a formation of the:
Only Democrats, in particular African-American Democrats, know how these people would have voted, had it not been shamefully delayed until now by the white, European male power structure. Therefore, only Democrats can write a Vote Check on the
This is because, if justice is to be served, only Democrats can be trusted to use just enough of those votes to win an election. That way, those dear departed voters will be around forever and be useful to future Democrats.
And by the way, the Democrats make those votes freely available to any other Democrat, regardless of race, creed, color, date of birth, sexual orientation, or physical or mental handicap.
The Republican National Committee knows of our activities and approves. If they did not, wouldn't they have said something by now?
Correction: Harold, you've mellowed in your old age since passing the torch ...
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