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Letter Stirs Up Election Controversy

By: Lindsay Liepman
By: Lindsay Liepman

Hearne has yet another election scandal brewing.

But what some call election intimidation may not be breaking the law.

A letter is opening up old wounds in Hearne.

It was sent anonymously to Black absentee voters and at least one city council candidate is calling it voter intimidation.

"Discrimination has been from the beginning of time. These people are not growing, they must change, we must change. Some of these people are living in the past," says Maxine Vaughn.

The letter calls specific people criminals, and urges voters not to trust them if they offer to help cast their ballot.

It also says allowing another person to mail an absentee ballot for you is illegal, which is true, unless the person is physically unable to do it themselves.

Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall, who declined an interview, sent a letter of his own, calling the author a coward.

Paschall has launched an investigation and says those mentioned in the letter could sue for libel.

City Council candidate Maxine Vaughn says election intimidation and tampering is becoming all too common in Hearne and it needs to stop.

"I'm concerned because I live here. I own a home, I pay taxes and we should be given the best for our money," says Vaughn.

The secretary of state's office says the letter did not violate any election laws and the city says it hasn't affected their absentee voting numbers.

"Usually when there's a mayor race people get out and vote. So far, we've ordered 1500 absentee ballots and we're just waiting for them to come back to city hall," says City Secretary Anna Florida.

The city hopes to put a past of election fraud behind it, but the letter is continuing to stir up trepidation in some voters.


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