Republican Rep. Jim Sorvillo’s attempt to overturn Democrat Ashley Hudson’s 24-vote victory over him for House District 32 brings new legal filings.
Sorvillo has challenges before both the state Claims Commission and Circuit Court to prevent Hudson from taking office in hopes that the House will recommend a new election and that the governor will call one. The complaint is based primarily on the erroneous inclusion in the final vote of up to 32 absentee ballots invalidated by the Pulaski County Election Commission.
Hudson contends the actual count of invalidated ballots is 27 and that if Sorvillo got only two of them, she’d still win. He’d have to get 25 of them and Hudson won two-thirds of absentee votes overall.
Hudson also contends the Claims Commission action should be dismissed because the commission has no jurisdiction and its review would violate separation of powers. She has filed an amended petition on that point with the Claims Commission. It says any Claims Commission review should be delayed until the issue of whether the claim should be dismissed is decided. It comments, in addition to criticizing Sorvillo’s attorney, AJ Kelly, for pushing for depositions of people he may not present in evidence and based on documents that aren’t yet available:
Claimant is not legally, factually, or even morally entitled to retain his seat in
the House of Representatives after losing the 2020 General Election. He has yet to
present a scintilla of evidence before any of these tribunals which would even tend to
support his nonsensical claims that wouldn’t justify his requested relief even if he were to prove them.
Hudson also has filed a motion to intervene in Sorvillo’s Circuit Court lawsuit — his second after he voluntarily dismissed his appeal of an earlier lawsuit he lost before Judge Wendell Griffen. The new lawsuit was assigned to Judge Mackie Pierce. Hudson’s filed a new motion today saying the new suit should go back to Griffen and accuses Sorvillo of forum shopping. Hudson’s attorney, Jennifer Waymack Standerfer wrote:
In the last three (3) weeks and one (1) day, Petitioner Sorvillo has filed, refiled, re-refiled, and filed again this claim, shopping through four (4) different forums and venues and seeking improper emergency relief. On November 16 he filed in the Pulaski County Circuit Court with Judge Wendell Griffen (60CV-20-6542), on November 18 he filed to the Arkansas Supreme Court (CV-20-666), on November 25 he filed in the Arkansas Claims Commission (Claim No. 210668), and on Tuesday, December 8, yesterday, he filed this case again in the Pulaski County Circuit Court, but now before the Seventeenth Division of the Pulaski County Circuit Court.
Each time, Petitioner has requested improper emergency relief to which he is not entitled. Each time, the Judge, Justices, and the Commission have denied or delayed that relief through their rulings. Each time he loses, Petitioner seeks out another forum or venue while the case and controversy remains in another tribunal and before they have a chance to hear the evidence, let alone consider the merits of his baseless claims. Where a party seeks removal because he or she disagrees with a judicial decision, it is “forum shopping at its worst”.
Hudson’s motion to intervene lays out a case that the Election Commission erroneously disqualified many ballots — for “matching” rather than “comparing” signatures; for ballots that put a voter form in the envelope with the ballot; for failure to give timely notice as the law allows for voters who failed to include ID; for minor clerical errors, and for “general failure” to follow statutory procedures.
If the court does take up the issue of these ballots, the motion says, all disqualified ballots that counted in the total should be reviewed to see if they were properly disqualified. She said the court also should review ALL uncounted ballots in the race for other possible erroneous disqualifications. Count all the votes, in other words.