Hearing set for election contest

Published 9:50 pm Thursday, January 29, 2009

A hearing date has been set for the Pike County Commission’s District 6 election contest, after Democrat candidate Oren Fannin objected to the now Commissioner Karen Berry’s victory Nov. 4.

Judge Joel Holley, of Lanett, has stepped in to hear the trial after all local judges reclused themselves from hearing the case.

The initial hearing will be Thursday, Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. in the Pike County Courthouse.

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The contest, originally filed by Fannin Nov. 21 in the Pike County Circuit Court, came after Berry won by just six votes, 1,391 to 1,385. And that was after a close margin required a recount of all ballots.

Neither Berry, Fannin nor their representing attorneys could be reached for comment.

But, the original lawsuit filed by Fannin claims Berry had “illegal votes” in the general election, which would put his number of legal votes higher than hers.

It does not say how these “illegal votes” were incurred.

Berry, represented by F.P. Ralph, filed a motion in the lawsuit for a more definitive statement from Fannin.

“To defend this matter, the defendant needs a statement specifying the number of illegal votes, and by whom given, and for who given and what precinct or vote place cast which the plaintiff expects to prove at trial,” the document read.

Joel Lee Williams, who is the attorney for the county’s Democrat Party, will represent


If Fannin is victorious in the lawsuit, Rob Johnston, election attorney for the Secretary of State, said he isn’t sure what would happen to the District 6 seat.

He said Fannin may be appointed or a special election may be required.