Will Bowman, who finished second in a five-way race for the Democratic primary for Liberty County sheriff, filed a petition to contest the results of the election Thursday afternoon.
The lawsuit, filed in Liberty County Superior Court, names the Liberty County Board of Elections, all of the board members, Elections Supervisor Ella Golden and all four opposing candidates as defendants.
According to primary results certified Friday, incumbent Sheriff Steve Sikes received 2,506 votes, or 50.95 percent. Because he received a majority, Sikes avoided a runoff.
Bowman received 1,762 votes, or 35.82 percent. The other candidates — Lamar Cook, Rondy Bacon and Elton Dudley — each received less than 10 percent of the vote.
The suit alleges that Sikes on May 20 “entered the polls for the purpose of intimidation and had an altercation with Donald Spencer, a poll worker which was subject of a report to the Secretary of State Elections Division. This was after he had voted on a previous date and was not for the purposes authorized by statute to keep order or public safety.”
The suit also alleges that “501 absentee ballots cast in this election constitutes 10.18 percent of total votes, of which about 40 percent of them voted only in the Sheriff’s race, and were the result of an organized absentee voting program orchestrated by” Sikes.
After he filed the lawsuit, Bowman said, “I’ve spent my lifetime serving the community and the country and seeking justice for everybody. Now I’m just trying to find justice in an election process that I felt was not fairly done and I just wanted someone else in on it, take another look at it.”
Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Sikes said he was not aware of the lawsuit and had not seen it, and therefore was not in a position to comment.
The suit seeks to invalide the results and grant a new election for Liberty County sheriff.
Look for more details on this story at coastalcourier.com and in Sunday’s Coastal Courier.