By David Arnett, Publisher
Tuesday, 28 February 2006
The allegation by Mayoral Candidate Don McCorkell is simple, damning, and officially documented. According to public records, Mayoral Candidate Kathy Taylor voted twice in the 2000 presidential election – once in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and once in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If true, this is a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Both Democrats are vying in the hotly contested primary race in what has been described by party insiders as a battle between “Country Club Democrats and Working Democrats.”
Don McCorkell was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1978 and represented Tulsa in the House for 18 years until 1996. He then left public life and started his own business, Sequoyah Capital and Development, LLC, which he owns and manages as CEO. He formed a partnership which was successful in developing two new privately owned and operated power plants in Oklahoma, including the largest power plant in the state, a 1300 megawatt facility located in Kiowa, Oklahoma.
Kathy Taylor graduated in 1981 from law school at Oklahoma University and in 1988 served as Vice President and General Counsel of Tulsa-based Thrifty Car Rental. She was appointed by Governor Brad Henry as Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and served until resigning to run for Mayor of Tulsa.
At his press conference in the Tulsa Garden Center today, McCorkell said, “I don’t enjoy this at all, but when you have evidence of voter fraud it is morally indefensible not to disclose it no mater how painful it is and, quite frankly, I have lost a good amount of sleep over it.
“It goes to the heart of what this Democracy is about,” McCorkell said. “My campaign staff in doing research about the candidates discovered the evidence and then procured certified copies from Florida and from the Tulsa County Election Board which do reflect by the official record that Kathy Taylor voted in the Presidential Election in 2000 in both Tulsa and Broward County, Florida which as you-all know was probably the most hotly contested presidential race in our lifetime.
“I think it is incumbent upon Kathy to either come forward with irrefutable evidence that these certified records from these election boards are false or she should withdraw from the race for Mayor of Tulsa. I think she owes that to herself and to the City of Tulsa and to the Democratic Party,” McCorkell said.
“I don’t have a lot to say. I have spent this campaign trying to focus on issues that are profoundly important to this community because I think we have a community of really astonishing potential, but I think it is going in the wrong direction,” McCorkell added.
Apparently Kathy Taylor had considered withdrawing from the race as her first comments at her press conference outside her midtown office today claimed many Tulsans had called to urge her to continue. Thanking supporters Taylor then said, “I am here today to address a mud-slinging and smear campaign by my opponent.”
“Why would I vote twice when it wouldn’t have made a difference to anybody in this country? I can tell you unequivocally, I would never have intentionally voted twice in two states. It’s nuts. We are talking a period of my life five years ago. My husband’s job was in Florida. I moved in 2000 to Florida because that is where our income was and that is where I registered to vote and that is where I voted. I am proud to tell you that today we are residents of the State of Oklahoma.
“I have now seen a document that purports to say that I voted in Tulsa, Oklahoma in that same election. Let me say, I do not believe that is true,” Taylor said.
When it was noted by a KJRH reporter that Taylor said she had not “intentionally voted twice” asking if that statement allowed the possibility that she had, Taylor said, “No, I am saying that I did not vote twice.” When the reporter continued saying Gene Pace, Secretary of the Tulsa County Election Board had told him that there was less than a 5 percent chance of error in the record, Taylor said, “Gene Pace and Fran Pace are on Don McCorkell’s contributor list and Fran Pace was in [McCorkell’s] very first advertisement – you can make an analysis from there.”
While Taylor ended her prepared remarks saying, “I am happy to answer any questions that you have” campaign advisors and staff ended the open question period abruptly as Taylor’s answers became increasingly defensive to direct questions.
A man purporting to be Taylor’s son-in-law confronted this writer demanding to know what other questions I wanted to ask. As other campaign media managers hovered, I answered that I didn’t want to talk to him.
In an exclusive interview with Tulsa Today at the Tulsa County Election Board office Gene Pace said, “These are the records we use to track the validity of individual voters.”
If such records are commonly wrong, people would be denied the ability to vote and, should that happen, it is likely that a public outcry would have arisen of significant volume to catch general public attention. There have been no such public reports in Tulsa.
Pace said, “We have the ability to do a statistical analysis of a more recent election where full books [polling books and the transcribed report] are available … if this becomes an issue of whether we keep accurate records or not then because we must maintain the trust of the public – it might be incumbent on us to run an analysis.”
When told that Taylor had suggested that Fran Pace’s support of McCorkell was the reason the records show Taylor voting in Tulsa, Pace said, “I would be greatly disappointed if that is what she said.”
“I don’t make my wife’s mind up for her, my wife supports the candidates that she wants to support,” Pace said. “I don’t get involved in campaigns, but my wife does whatever she wants to do.”
Asked if his wife has ever asked him to change a record, Pace said, “Absolutely not. She has no involvement [in the Tulsa County Election Board] whatsoever beyond decorating the office for holidays every once in a while. She has seven grandkids and lots of other interests.”
“My wife loves this community dearly and served on the Metropolitan Planning Commission and has been a neighborhood activist,” Pace added saying, “I will defend my wife’s right to support any candidate she may choose. I thought that was the American way and I have no right to see that she doesn’t do that.”
Pace said, “It is important to me that these records are as accurate as humanly possible. We [routinely] do a double check and go through and make that report from the poll books then go back and check them again. I would bet we have more accurate records than any County in the State of Oklahoma. We have an obligation to the citizens to keep accurate records. If [Kathy Taylor] is saying our records are inaccurate, we need to investigate that and I would like her to give me information on why she thinks they are inaccurate.
“These records are generated directly from the polling books and while polling books are only kept for two years, the records generated from them are as accurate as humanly possible, Pace reiterated emphatically.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 02 March 2006 )