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Missouri state representative files lawsuit after losing the primary

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August 24, 2010

ST. LOUIS, Missouri: State Rep. Hope Whitehead filed a lawsuit in St. Louis Circuit Court on August 23, challenging the results of her loss in the August 3 Democratic primary. Under state law, candidates are allowed a recount if they lose by less than 1%. Whitehead lost the primary to Karla May by a margin of 1,386-1,353, a difference of 33 votes, or 1.02%.[1]

Whitehead is basing her case around the role of party poll workers during the primary. On election day, each party is allowed a set of "challengers" at the polls who scrutinize voters' credentials. Whitehead alleges that the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee went against party bylaws by allowing May and others to act as challengers in the 1st Ward. While the race was close overall, May won the 1st Ward by 24%.

In her petition to the court, Whitehead states, “The unlawful challengers, under color of law, were in a position to interfere with voting procedure, use any election board precinct sheets or materials, challenge the qualifications of any person authorized to vote, and interfere with the orderly process of voting.”[2]

Whitehead won election to the 57th District seat in a special election in February 2010. She replaced Talibdin El-Amin, who is currently serving an 18-month term in federal prison for bribery.

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