Contest of runoff results made official

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 28, 2002

“It’s not over. You will be hearing from me real soon.”

With those words, LaTosha Brown formally announced her intention Thursday to contest the election results for the June 25th Democratic primary runoff.

Brown lost the runoff for the state House of Representatives District 67 nomination to Yusuf Salaam. According to official primary results, Salaam garnered 4,955 votes to Brown’s 4,817 – a difference of 138 votes.

In a wide-ranging press conference that touched on several issues, Brown and her campaign manager and legal adviser April Albright said they had received a number of reports of irregularities that occurred during Tuesday’s runoff, including efforts to encourage a Republican “crossover” vote.

Albright said a court order seeking the lists of names of those that received Republican ballots and those that received Democratic ballots in each of the two elections had been obtained.

“We want to determine whether or not those who voted in the Republican primary on June 4th decided to all of a sudden become a Democrat on June 25th,” Albright said. “That is illegal.”

Referring to the alleged crossover vote, State Sen. Hank Sanders, who was also present, said, “We have some very strong evidence that it was an organized effort.”

That came as news to Alston Keith, chairman of the Dallas County Democratic Party, who said, “I know of no such effort.”

Keith said he had certified the June 25th primary results, adding, “I’m satisfied that the primary went the way it was supposed to go.”

Leigh Snodsmith, director of communications for the state Democratic Party, said that while crossover voting is against party bylaws, it would be up to the state Democratic Executive Committee to determine what if any action would be taken against a Democratic candidate who had encouraged such voting.

Brock Wells, chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party, called crossover voting a party issue, noting that his party does not bar such votes. Referring to the Brown campaign’s allegations of an organized crossover effort, Wells said, “Generally speaking, Republicans are pretty honest folks. I don’t think any Republican around here would do something like that.”

“We just want a fair election,” Brown said. “This will not be the Bush-Gore election. We will not tolerate our votes being taken for granted.”

Brown carried 33 percent of the primary vote, as opposed to 21 percent by Salaam. She took issue with media reports which suggested that the overwhelming support Salaam received in predominately white precincts was a reaction against her ties to the Alabama New South Coalition, which was one of her biggest campaign supporters.

“Allegations of machines controlling elections are not a new occurrence in this community,” she said. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the white vote went to my opponent. If that does not speak of a political machine, I don’t know what does.”

Because the District 67 race is considered a state election, the results must be certified by the state Democratic Party. That certification is due to take place Monday. Brown said she intends to officially appeal the results at that time.