Campbell County judge denies motion to dismiss Senate District 24 recount case, now heads to bond hearing

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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The recount case involving Senate District 24 challenger Jessica Neal will now head to a bond hearing, after Campbell County Judge Daniel Zalla denied the motion to dismiss the case filed by the state Board of Elections.

“The State Board of Elections is disappointed that Judge Zalla does not see these faulty recount petitions in the same manner that all of the other judges throughout the state who have weighed them do,” said BOE attorney Taylor Austin Brown. 

In a ​​Memorandum of Law issued by the state Board of Elections in June, it showed that in a pre-trial conference before a hearing on June 9, Neal was not seeking to establish that she won the election but to expose fraud.

“In discussing this matter before the Court, Petitioner has stated that she would be satisfied with only a partial recount, alleging not that this will prove she in-fact won this primary, but that somehow a partial recount will allow her to expose a grand scheme to disenfranchise the voters of the Commonwealth,” the memorandum reads. 

In a statement to LINK nky, Neal said that wasn’t the case.

“Regarding the statement by attorney Taylor Brown, I have never implied this recount would ‘allow me to expose some grand scheme to disenfranchise the voters of the Commonwealth,’” she said.

Second-place finisher Neal lost the election to Frommeyer by a vote count of 4,094 to 3,797. Chris Robinson came in third with a tally of 2,731 votes. Neal said she “hopes there’s not” any fraud in this case but wants a recount to make sure. 

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Secretary of State Michael Adams said in a statement to LINK nky in June that the lawsuit is “frivolous” and Neal should provide evidence to the court if there’s fraud. Neal hasn’t provided any evidence.

“If Ms. Neal had evidence of impropriety, she could provide it to the court, law enforcement, and election officials, but she has failed to do so,” Adams said. “She should not bring a frivolous lawsuit to challenge an election whose outcome she admits will not change.” 

Verifying the accuracy of our elections should never be considered “frivolous,” according to Neal. 

“Any Secretary of State who has a sincere interest in truly upholding democracy should support efforts by a candidate who is willing, at her own expense, to pursue a recount,” Neal said. “My race was determined by a mere 307 votes, a margin that I believe justifies taking a second look to verify the machine totals.”

In other cases throughout the state, so-called ‘liberty’ candidates have challenged the results in elections despite losing by wide margins. 

“There are a number of steps that still need to play out legally, but the State Board will continue to do what it can to make sure the recount statute is not subverted by Ms. Neal or any of the other ‘Liberty’ candidates to spread election misinformation,” Brown said. 

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