February 07, 2005
Heflin concedes

Talmadge Heflin has withdrawn his challenge after Discovery Master Will Hartnett recommended that it be dismissed.

Hartnett concluded that Heflin had produced "no evidence of any intentional voter fraud" that would have affected his Nov. 2 loss to Vo in District 149. Vo won then by 52 votes, a margin that narrowed to 33 with an official recount including mail-in ballots.

"It became obvious that we didn't have the data to meet the hurdle," Heflin said of his effort to convince Hartnett and the House that the participation of ineligible voters put the result of the election in doubt. "When you see that you can't meet a criteria that is thrust upon you, it makes no sense to move ahead."


Heflin, who served 11 terms in the House and was chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, said it was "highly likely" that he would run again to regain the House seat or another public office.

Vo said he looks forward to serving, and that the residents of the district will "have a say again in two years."

During the campaign, Vo said Heflin had lost touch with the increasingly diverse district.

Heflin wouldn't address tha today, saying he was not going to dwell on the past and that in the election challenge, he only wanted to seek the truth.

"It's not something I was in because I couldn't let go of (the seat)," he said.


After reviewing Hartnett's report, Heflin decided it was time to move on, said his lawyer, Andy Taylor.

"We made a political decision not to ask for the select committee to overrule Rep. Hartnett," Taylor said. "I didn't think that would be in the best interest of the parties or the House."

He added that Heflin did not want to put House members in the "uncomfortable position" of having to weigh in on the race.

Heflin and Taylor said they still believe that the race was decided by ineligible voters, and said they wish they had had more time to collect evidence.

"Even under the most critical review of our evidence, a new election should have been ordered," Taylor said. "How can anyone say with any confidence whatsoever that the outcome the election was such that one candidate prevailed over another?"

Heflin said he respected Hartnett's report but doesn't regret his challenge.

"Any time you seek the truth it's worth it," Heflin said. "The integrity of the election process is what's at risk."

It took him longer than perhaps I would have liked, but ultimately Heflin did the right thing, and for that I thank him for his wise decision to accept the result and move on.

As for Andy Taylor...jeez, what a jerk. You were wrong every step of the way. Quit whining and go home. Oh, and be sure to read Hartnett's full report (PDF), which explains at length and with many footnotes why you lost. Maybe you'll learn something.

Anyway, Vince excerpts from the report, while Greg focuses on a specific case of interest. One thing I want to note from Page 16 of the report, which I suspect will make Kevin happy:

"The two months of discovery in this case show that very little about the November 2004 election in District 149 has not been examined. If anything, this contest has pulled back the carpet and allowed the master, the parties, and the Select Committee to sweep away the dust to allow an in-depth examination of the problems of conducting a modern election in a mobile urban society, while guaranteeing access to the ballot box for all and ensuring the integrity of the elections."

That paragraph contained the following footnote:

"During the final conference call, all of the parties and the master expressed a willingness, after the resolution of this case, to sit down and discuss their experiences and jointly discuss possible changed in election law raised by this case."

That would be a fine thing to result from this ordeal. I hope they follow through on it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 07, 2005 to Election 2004 | TrackBack