Election contest trial to begin Monday

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LOUISA - Motion hour was held last Friday at the Lawrence County Courthouse for the Magoffin County election contest suit, which is scheduled to go to trial on Monday.

The case began when John Montgomery, republican candidate for Magoffin County judge executive who lost by 28 votes to incumbent Dr. Charles Hardin, filed an election contest suit on Thursday, December 4, 2014.

The verified petition filed on December 4 named Magoffin County Clerk Renee Arnett-Shepherd, Sheriff Carson Montgomery, Susie Salyer and Justin Williams in their official capacities as members of the Magoffin County Board of Elections, as well as Hardin. On Election Day, Lisa Montgomery-Cheek did serve as a Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office representative since Sheriff Montgomery was a candidate on the November 4 ballot. 

The suit states that at least 261 ballots cast and counted for Hardin in the November 4 election allegedly violated election laws.

On January 23 Judge Preston, who was appointed to the case after Judge Kim Childers recused herself, granted Montgomery’s attorney’s motion, allowing the release of copies of absentee ballots to the parties, clarifying an earlier order from the Court to include all materials in the locked ballot box obtained and currently held by the Attorney General from the Magoffin County Clerk from the November 2014 general election.

Furthermore, Judge Preston also granted Hardin’s attorney’s motion to exclude broad categories of witnesses listed as No. 95, 96 and 97 from testifying at trial, however Montgomery’s attorney may call any of the 97 witnesses listed by name in his witness list, along with Jerry Adams, identified by name after that was submitted. Exhibits not provided to counsel on the CD/DVD that was filed with the Court in the January 23 hearing may not be used, as well. 

Judge Preston clarified that Montgomery can use as exhibits: “1) certified copies of any documents previously produced to Respondents’ counsel; 2) supplemental voter rosters for the Magoffin County November 2014 general election; 3) and voter registration cards for individuals identified by expert witnesses by name in their reports. As to any materials obtained from the Attorney General in connection with materials from the locked ballot box, Respondents reserve the right to object to their admission at trial.”

Another motion hour is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, January 30, 2015, and a court date is tentatively set for a bench trial to begin on Monday, February 2 in Magoffin County, scheduled through February 4.