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Judge rules Stone County sheriff vote invalid

A judge has ruled a special election held to determine the Democratic nominee for sheriff in Stone County was legally unauthorized and therefore void.
A judge threw out the results of the August 3rd special election to pick a Democratic nominee for Stone County sheriff calling it illegal. The Republican nominee, Russ Aiken, filed a lawsuit making that very claim. As it stands now Aiken only faces a write in candidate but that could change.

Lance Bonds, the man who came out on top in that special election, says he plans to appeal the judge's ruling. But time is running out. Meanwhile, the Republican nominee is moving forward with his campaign.

Russ Aiken, the Republican nominee for Stone County sheriff, is celebrating a victory. Judge Jay Moody has thrown out the results of a special election to break two tie votes to determine Aiken's Democratic challenger. Aiken filed a lawsuit claiming the tie breaker election was illegal.

"We're delighted the judge took into fact the law and abided by what the law said and this is what this whole thing was about to start with was. It was not whether I had a candidate to run against," says Aiken.

Democrat Lance Bond broke the tie and won that special election. He says the governor had every right to call it and Monday's ruling takes away the rights of voters.

The May 18th election between incumbent Sheriff Todd Hudspeth and challenger Lance Bonds ended in a tie. They tried it again in a run-off on June 8th. A few days later they announced another tie vote between the two. In the special election Bonds beat Hudsepth, but the judge ruled the election illegal.

"Thirty five hundred people came out and voted and I guess their vote don't count so it's disappointing," says Bond.

Aiken says what's disappointing is they wasted taxpayer money on an election he knew was illegal from the start.

Aiken and his attorney claim had the Stone County Election Commission called for a convention to elect a nominee this would not have happened.

"In fact, it was discussed and reccommended to the election commission but they preferred for whatever reason not to do that and make a choice that cost Arkansans $32,000," says Charles Kester.

Election Commissioner Betty Allred has a different opinion saying, "It's a bad decision about a bad law...we had two options and we took the option of finding out the will of the people."

Candidate Bonds agrees and adds he's worked too hard to give up now.

Bonds says he's talked to many of his supporters and they are encouraging him to file an appeal in this case, but time is running out. A nominee has to be named by August 24th and that's just a week away.
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