Ficklin’s election challenge gets court date

mstucka@macon.comNovember 1, 2013 

Henry Ficklin

Henry Ficklin’s election challenge now has a court date.

An out-of-county judge scheduled a hearing for 10 a.m. Tuesday, although Ficklin has already asked for more time to gather the evidence he needs for his challenge to the Macon-Bibb County Commission District 2 runoff election.

In a lawsuit filed at 5 p.m. Monday, Ficklin contended that the Oct. 15 Macon-Bibb County runoff elections were riddled with “misconduct, fraud, or irregularity.” Ficklin said his name was left off some ballots in the runoff. The official tally says Larry Schlesinger won the District 2 race by 26 votes.

In the days since, Senior Superior Court Judge Stephen E. Boswell was assigned to handle the case. He’s the same judge who heard a residency challenge against Al Tillman, who was subsequently elected to the Macon-Bibb County commission.

Separately, three parties involved in the Ficklin challenge have secured lawyers. Ficklin is represented by Wayne B. Kendall and Jerry Wilson. The Bibb County Board of Elections and its elections supervisor, Jeanetta Watson, will be represented by William H. Noland, who also represented the elections board in the Tillman case. Schlesinger has also retained an attorney, Tom Richardson.

Ficklin is asking the judge to call for a new election and block Schlesinger from taking office.

In a motion filed Wednesday afternoon, Ficklin’s attorneys asked for more time to collect the files, records, election data and other documents Ficklin needs to prove his case. Under state open records laws, those organizations don’t need to offer a first response to his request until Tuesday, and Ficklin would need time to review the records and determine whether he needs any more documents or witnesses.

The request said Ficklin would be ready for court within 20 days from his filing of the lawsuit.

Ficklin is seeking information on actual voters in the Oct. 15 and Sept. 17 elections, registered voters, absentee ballot requests and other items from both the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office and Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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