Judge rules against adding names to Lake City ballot

Monday, September 11, 2006

Second Judicial District Circuit Judge David Burnett ruled on Sept. 5 against placing three Lake City alderman candidates on the Nov. 7 ballot, citing the importance of complying with state election law.

Attorney Arlon Woodruff represented Terry Chisnall, Ann Davis and Jeffery Wisham in a lawsuit to overturn County Clerk Nancy Nelms' decision to set aside the three petitions delivered to her office on Aug. 9 after the noon deadline.

The petitions were delivered to the county office by Lake City Clerk Diane Crews who said she waited until the noon deadline giving all candidates the opportunity to turn in petitions. She said as soon as the deadline passed she delivered the three petitions to the county office.

The lawsuits' case for placing Davis, Wisham and Chisnall before voters cited a long-standing policy of city clerks acting as agents of the county in receiving completed petitions from candidates.

The lawsuit named Nelms and county election commission Chairman Benton Smith as defendants, along with Mark Mann, Michael Burnside, Kenneth Winford and Mike Carner, all Lake City alderman candidates who would have faced the three plaintiffs.

Davis and Chisnall were filing for Position 1 Ward 1 along with Mark Mann and Michael Burnside. Wisham was filing for Positoin 2 Ward 2, against Kenneth Winford and Mike Carner.

Woodruff said he had not met with his clients (as of Monday) to determine if there will be an appeal.

Wisham said (Monday afternoon) he had decided to start a write-in campaign.

"I was disappointed," Wisham said. "I did everything I was told to do. I got my signatures and turned in my petition by the deadline. Again, I was disappointed by the judge's ruling but I plan to start a write-in campaign."

Wisham, 20, said his decision to seek office was so the younger voices are heard as well as some of the older ones who have been forgotten.

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