Judge cites jurisdiction for the dismissal of injunction in 2019 election
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– MCN District Court Civil Judge Jeremy Pittman dismissed the injunction CV-2019-144JP filed Nov. 7 in front of a packed courtroom due to a lack of a jurisdiction and citing the ability for the petitioner to obtain remedies through a petition for fraud or irregularities.
The complaint for injunctive relief was filed in court Oct. 31. In the complaint hearing held Nov. 1, Election Candidate Bim Stephen Bruner asked the court to intervene in the process and preserve election ballots received after the Nov. 2 deadline.
Election Board Attorney Roger Wiley asked the court to dismiss the injunction on the basis of the petitioner (Bruner) did not make a claim based on law.
Wiley called the challenging of an election prior to an election having taken place unprecedented if allowed.
He said that election-challenging procedure was well established by law and is done through the Supreme Court.
Wiley said that the number of voters of this election was slightly higher than the last election and those late ballots were comparable to the last election.
Bruner’s attorney referenced MCN Constitution and citizens right to vote. He alleged those ballots were not sent out in a timely manner and asked the court to count the ballots received after Nov. 2 in the official election results.
Both attorneys stated that they were prepared to present evidence to back up their claims.
Pittman stated that the election code specifically limits what the civil courts can do in the electoral process because it outlines the procedure to obtain remedy.
MCN Assistant Attorney General Kyle Haskins stated that there was remedy for Bruner. He has the option to file petition for fraud or irregularities through the Supreme Court.
According to Haskins the court could declare this election invalid and send it back for a third time, or use the remedy from a case in the 90’s in which the Supreme Court ordered all absentee ballots thrown out.
Judge Pittman went on to point out a scenario in which the district courts involvement could be a direct conflict with the Supreme Courts orders in the event that a candidate should choose to file a petition for fraud or irregularities.
“I have no jurisdiction to add votes to the tally,” Pittman said.
The complaint for injunctive relief was filed in court just days before the Nov. 2 election. In the complaint hearing held Nov. 1, Bruner asked the court to intervene in the process and preserve election ballots received after Nov. 2 deadline.
The election board was ordered to maintain custody of those ballots but was not ordered to include them into the election tallies.