Kerney-Wilbourn Letter

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2008

To the Editor:

First, let me thank all the voters in District One who elected me to the Office of Election Commissioner. I am so very grateful for your overwhelming support! I will try to repay your confidence in me by being the best and fairest Election Commissioner possible.

Unfortunately, however, I also have to write this letter to correct some false reports about this election that appeared in an article by Billy Davis on the front page of The Panolian’s Friday, November 14, 2008, edition.

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The piece was entitled “Here we go again: Voter Fraud Alleged at Como polling place.” (Was the rush to get that highly-questionable article printed the reason the staff misdated the front page as “Tuesday, November 14, 2008?)

The article was dominated by references to problems with past Como elections and by what one poll worker had to say about the current November 4 election. The current poll worker was Bill Ford, who served as the bailiff at the Como precinct this recent election day. The article states that Ford, who lives south of Como, said he himself had asked to serve as poll worker, and that he specifically had asked to serve in Como, with the intention of proving fraud at the polling place.

Well, Bill Ford should have reported himself for not following the rules taught in the poll workers’ training.

I observed Mr. Ford looking on the screen as voters was voting. It seemed as if he was trying to see how people were voting. I had to tell him when he looked on my machine that I didn’t need his help in casting my vote. I know how to operate the machine. Some voters who had not requested any help from Mr. Ford had to ask him several times to leave their machine so they could continue voting. I’m sure he must have rested well on election night, after all the running around, flitting from machine to machine, that he had done that day!

Reporter Billy Davis quoted Ford as saying he saw me (Dorothy Kerney-Wilbourn) sitting at the table behind the voters’ rolls, which I did not do. Ford also said that he saw me help several voters, when, in fact I helped only one lady who asked me to help her. In Mississippi, anyone (except the voter’s employer, the employer associate or a union representative) can legally give assistance to any voter who asks that person for help.

I assume that probably one of two things must have caused Mr. Ford to tell the reporter these falsehoods: (1.) Either he does not know me and mistook someone else for me, or (2.) He, for whatever reason, has chosen to tell an untruth about me. I did not sit down nor even touch a chair while I was in any of the four precincts that I visited on November 4th.

The article also reported that Bonnie and Calvin Land were very instrumental in assigning Bill Ford to the Como precinct so that the Panola County Republican Party could have a representative in Como. If Bill Ford was the best Panola County Republican Party could offer Como this November 4, they need to start trying to recruit competent workers for the next election right now!

Again, let me thank the voters of District One for electing me as their Election Commissioner. Let us all–Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Blacks, and Whites–try together to make sure that elections in our District are conducted correctly and fairly and they are reported on truthfully.


Dorothy Kerney-Wilbourn