Lorenzo Heard is one step closer to having his day in court now that Judge J. Richard Porter of Cairo has been selected to hear the case. All three local Superior Court Judges recused themselves voluntarily from the case, despite part of the procedure for cases involving elections is normally to bring in a judge from outside, so as to insure a fair hearing for both parties (since judge are elected, they also have to deal with the elections board).
Heard’s argument stems from allegations by the Dougherty County elections office that he failed to get a sufficient number of signatures. However, the Journal previously reported that there may be sufficient grounds according to state law. This is the crux of the case, but there were other factors involved in Heard being denied a spot on the November ballot, such as the lack of a notice of candidacy.
It has been claimed that the notice originally taken to the elections office was rejected in spite of being an original document. Elections supervisor Ginger Nickerson allegedly attempted to contact Heard to bring in the notice, it had been destroyed. To some observers, that seems suspicious. After all, they argue, why would you destroy a document that was an original that had been improperly rejected?
The Journal will continue to follow this story as it develops.