Skip to comments.Ford Sr. sees GOP hand in dead vote
Posted on 12/15/2005 10:45:42 PM PST by Eagle9
As a Shelby County voter fraud investigation lurches forward, former congressman Harold Ford Sr. isn't waiting for answers.
Ford said Thursday he's opened his own investigation into allegations that two dead voters cast ballots in the September state Senate race that his sister, Ophelia Ford, won by 13 votes.
Ford said he's not prepared to make any accusations, yet suggested evidence of any skulduggery will lead to Republicans, not his own Democratic Party.
"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,'' said Ford.
"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.''
Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Bill Giannini called Ford's statements "absurd.''
"Tell Harold Ford Sr. that the folks at the Flat Earth Society say hello,'' Giannini said.
"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.''
Emotions have flared since Ophelia Ford won a squeaker Sept. 15 over Republican challenger Terry Roland for the Dist. 29 Senate seat vacated by another Ford sibling. John Ford resigned in May after his indictment on bribery charges.
Contesting the results, Roland is asking the Senate to overturn the election, alleging widespread voting irregularities.
Meantime, 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 a North Memphis precinct.
Requesting a criminal probe, Shelby County Election Commission Chairman Greg Duckett said he believes as many as five ballots may have been forged in heavily Democratic Precinct 27-1. Those ballots include the two cast in the names of dead voters as well as three others, he said.
Duckett said authorities are suspicious, in part, because ballot applications for all five votes appear to contain similar handwriting.
Duckett said at a Wednesday press conference he suspects the culprit is a poll worker or someone with specialized election knowledge, a suspicion advanced Thursday by longtime commissioner O.C. Pleasant.
"It took several persons involved to make happen what did happen,'' Pleasant said. "I don't know where it will lead to.''
Citing the criminal probe, election officials have declined to release the names of poll workers who manned the Precinct 27-1 polling place at Fire Station No. 6, at 924 Thomas.
Verline Mayo, the official in charge of the polling place, said she had no clue how votes were registered for Joe L. Light, 70, and Archie L. Kirkwood, 72, both of whom died weeks before the election.
"I don't know how that could have happened,'' said Mayo, 68, a longtime North Memphis resident who has worked as an Election Day poll worker since 1964 and who has overseen Precinct 27-1 for several years.
"We've got a pretty good clean record up there.''
Speaking in her North Memphis home, Mayo said she didn't have all the names of the poll workers who worked with her on Election Day.
Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons said he called the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday to open a criminal probe but said the investigation likely won't start in earnest until next week.
Not waiting around, Ford Sr. said he's already made several calls and intends to interview all 32 of the living voters who cast ballots in Precinct 27-1. Including ballots of the two dead voters, 34 votes were cast in the precinct, and 32 of them were for Ophelia Ford.
"We want the truth to come out,'' said Ford, 60, a lobbyist who served in Congress until 1997. His son, Rep. Harold Ford Jr., succeeded him.
Ford Sr. first called the newspaper on Wednesday to make it clear that his family business, N.J. Ford & Sons Funeral Home, didn't bury Light or Kirkwood. On Thursday, Ford confirmed that J.E. Herndon, the funeral home operator who buried Kirkwood, also works for the Ford Funeral Home as an embalmer.
"This was an inside job,'' he said. "Why would Ophelia Ford want to get into the Election Commission and vote the dead?''
Despite his own suspicions, Ford said he believes fraud may be limited to the ballots of the two dead voters. The other three ballot applications with similar handwriting likely involved a poll worker assisting illiterate voters, he said.
Republicans invested a lot of money in North Memphis' Democratic precincts in advance of the election, Ford said, indicating that that's the trail to follow.
"I see the trend where this is going to be headed,'' he said, "and it's not coming to us."
Yep, you got it.
"... suspicion advanced Thursday by longtime commissioner O.C. Pleasant."
Is O. C. a common set of initials in Memphis? Remember O. C. "tie a bomb to me with barbed wire" Smith?
Ha! No, not to my knowledge.
You left out A. C.; Wharton that is!
Ah, yes...can't leave out Greater Shelby County.
"On Thursday, Ford confirmed that J.E. Herndon, the funeral home operator who buried Kirkwood, also works for the Ford Funeral Home as an embalmer."
The embalmer did it!
I saw where John Ford was getting one of his houses foreclosed on or something last week. Couldn't tell if it was one of the girlfriend's houses or his wife's.
Neither Ford was US senator. The office was State Senator.
The ford family, including the son running for US Senate is a criminal enterprise.
Their black and think they are above the law.
Yes, I realized my mistake and tried to correct it in #10.
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