Baker Co. sheriff candidate challenges election

Baker County challenger Tim Williamson
Baker County challenger Tim Williamson
Baker Sheriff Dana Meade
Baker Sheriff Dana Meade

A failed south Georgia sheriff's candidate hopes a judge will reverse the results of his election.

Baker County challenger Tim Williamson is suing Sheriff Dana Meade and the board of elections as the secretary of state's office looks into allegations of voter fraud.

The Georgia sheriff's candidate hopes a judge will reverse the results of his election.

This is the statement issued by Tim Williamson regarding why he field suit. He says he wasn't mad about the results but says he heard from too many people about irregularities in the race that he wants the courts to have a say.

In the August 21st Democratic primary runoff, incumbent Baker County Sheriff Dana Meade edged out challenger Tim Williamson by 39 votes. A close race that raised some questions.

"Based on the information that we have heard, it sounds like there are a lot of questions as to whether or not the election was legal or whether or not the election was fair," said Attorney Jimmy Skipper.

Skipper is representing Williamson who works as a deputy in Decatur County. They filed suit Friday in Baker County against Sheriff Meade and the Baker County Board of Elections on the basis of voter irregularities.

"We've heard numerous reports of mishandled absentee ballots. Of people going to pick up absentee ballots at other people's houses and may not be delivering them when they were supposed to be delivered. The problem with that is you're not supposed to have other people pick up absentee ballots," said Skipper.

This comes as the Secretary of State's office is looking into accusations of voter fraud. A complaint filed by a Baker County voter claims he was offered $100 to vote for a candidate. Officials though would not specify which one.

Skipper says there is a lot of paperwork and testimony involved in this case to prove there are 39 illegal votes. If it's proven, it could alter the election.

"Depending on how it comes out and what the evidence shows, the judge could either declare Mr. Williamson a winner outright or the judge could say the election is in such he just orders a new election," said Skipper.

For now the office of sheriff is in the hands of a judge.

We spoke to Sheriff Meade by phone today who referred us to his attorney, who could not be reached for comment. Meade did however say he was not aware of the Secretary of State's investigation.

We were also unable to reach the attorney for the Baker County Board of Elections.

Attorneys for Meade and the Board of Elections have until September 10th to file a response to the lawsuit.

Copyright 2012 WALB.  All rights reserved.