Read all stories regarding the House District 45 case:
Attorneys finished submitting evidence on Friday regarding Democrat Paula Roberts' allegations of irregularities in the House District 45 race.
Attorneys from both sides and representing the Oklahoma state election board will have until 9 a.m. Tuesday to submit written closing arguements and District Judge Tracy Schumacher will issue a ruling at 5 p.m.
Cleveland County Election Board found Republican incumbent Rep. Aaron Stiles had a 16-vote lead after a recount following the Nov. 6 elections.
If Roberts' petition is successful, a judge would call for another House District 45 election.
Greg Bledsoe, Roberts' attorney, wrapped up proceedings by presenting evidence including the instructions election board employees are given regarding both name changes and address changes. He also called to the stand eight individuals who immediately invoked their Fifth Amendment rights following reminders from Judge Tracy Schumacher about self-incrimination and were dismissed.
According the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Bledsoe presented real estate papers or change of address forms as proof that if those called to the stand would have said that they moved out of District 45 or their voting precinct but voted at their old precinct anyway. These eight were part of the 14 subpeonas sent out by Bledsoe.
The pattern of witnesses excusing themselves from testimony — combined with the length of time Anette Pretty, Cleveland County Election Board assistant secretary, had on the stand in the initial part of the hearing Tuesday, Nov. 20 — led to a joke by Schumacher when Pretty returned to the stand.
"You know if you plead the fifth, you don't have to testify," Schumacher said just prior to swearing Pretty in.
Bledsoe questioned Pretty on the process absentee ballots go through. Bledsoe reminded Pretty about Jamie Jennings testimony from Nov. 20, in which Jennings, who lives in House District 44, said she received ballots for the House District 45 race.
Pretty said there is no way of knowing if a voter got the wrong ballot during the process of opening the various envelopes involved.
"If a voter recieved the wrong ballot, it would have to be human error," Pretty said. It would not be Jennings' fault if she received the wrong ballot.
After a brief recess, Bledsoe asked the judge to disqualify herself, basing his arguement on another case where the judge had violated the civil rights of those present. Barry Roberts, husband of Paula Roberts and attorney assisting Bledsoe, said they were making sure the laws on the books were being followed.
"Election law is unique," Barry Roberts said. "Because of a special state statute, if either party asks the judge to disqualify, the judge shall disqualify." He explained that was all the reason needed according to the statute.
Robert McCampbell, attorney for Stiles, said if Bledsoe wanted the judge to disqualify herself, he should have asked before the hearing began. Schumacher did not disqualify herself and will remain the judge for the final part of the hearing.
After Bledsoe closed his presentation, neither McCampbell nor Assistant District Attorney Carol Dillingham, representing the election board, offered evidence of their own, choosing to rest their cases.
Stiles said he believed the hearing spoke for itself.
Roberts said she was confident with the evidence presented.
"I feel good," Roberts said. "I think it was a fair hearing."
In terms of actions by the election board, Jim Williams, election board secretary, said he was satisfied with what was presented.
"All I've heard is proof that we do things by the book," Williams said. "While it's not really up to me, I haven't seen any reason the election board would make any changes."