The Legal Battle Over Who Wants to Be Sheriff in Holmes County Intensifies

By: Rex Ogburn
By: Rex Ogburn

Local candidates are already stumping the Panhandle trying to win your vote in 2004, but apparently we aren't finished with the 2000 general election in one area county.

A ruling by the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee Tuesday means the election for Holmes County Sheriff has still not been officially decided. The appeals court says there was no fraud or negligence in the ballot count that gave Dennis Lee a five-vote win countywide over former Sheriff John Braxton.

However, there’s some bad news for Sheriff Lee in Tuesday’s ruling. Braxton had challenged the election results in circuit court in Bonifay and lost. Now, the appeals court said the lower court should have considered all the evidence before it rejected 25 absentee ballots.

The appeals court also ordered 14 presidential under vote ballots be recounted to see if there's any sheriffs votes on those ballots which were not counted before. The court also wants three spoiled ballots to be counted.

This ruling comes over three years after the 2000 General Election, and just nine months before Lee's four-year term as sheriff would expire anyway.


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