I sat in a superior courtroom for endless hours, listening to lawyers speak. Apparently, I had angered God and was being punished for whatever transgressions I had committed. After said punishment, I deeply apologize for whatever I did to deserve that. However, there was something entertaining about that visit to a courtroom to hear Ward 2 candidate Melissa Strother’s assertions on why there needs to be a Ward 2 election, and that was more of the Ivey Hines contention that 259 Albanians decided to protest with their votes.
The assertion, which was first made after Hines was declared the Ward 2 winner, sounded ridiculous at first. Hines didn’t state it as a fact however, only a possibility why so many people voted for a woman who had been removed from the ballot.
However, as I listened to Hines’ attorney, Maurice King, as he questioned witnesses, it became clear that the assertion was becoming part of his reasons why the process as it was done should be upheld.
Now, I’m not going to get into all of that. There were a lot of things going on, and few of them were good. That’s been detailed within the pages of this fine paper previously.
The assertion though, that 259 people in Albany decided to protest Cheryl Calhoun’s treatment, seems fantastic at best. In fact, I haven’t found any mention in local media that such an effort as afoot. No squawks in the other paper’s box, no piece on WALB or WFXL, no evidence of mention on local radio. Nothing. I know for a fact that this paper had no such mention, and have been unable to find anything in that other paper either.
Yet Hines and King would have us believe that 259 people came together and were able to engineer a protest vote for Calhoun, with no mention in local media either before or after the race. Protests only work if people know you’re protesting. Cheryl Calhoun says that no one has approached her to say they voted for her out of protest, so I find it unlikely that a living soul did.
The far more likely scenario is that 259 Ward 2 voters didn’t know she had been disqualified. Several voters testified Friday that they didn’t see news stories that Calhoun had been disqualified, but had learned about it “on the streets.”
However, King repeatedly questioned election officials as to whether they were allowed to prevent someone from voting a particular way. They all said no, which was hardly surprising. That was never the issue though.
What King apparently didn’t grasp wasn’t whether people should be permitted to vote for Cheryl Calhoun out of protest, but whether any of them actually did. The evidence that they do so is rather scant, if not outright nonexistent. Frankly, they just didn’t do it.
It’s my hope that if Ivey Hines is going to be the Ward 2 commissioner, and should the courts decided he is, he will put away these ridiculous notions of what people did and didn’t do and focus on moving Albany forward.