DA finds insufficient evidence in Kathy Taylor vote fraud allegations
TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ A Tulsa County prosecutor said Tuesday that evidence proving mayoral candidate Kathy Taylor voted in two states in 2000 is lacking and that it's too late to pursue criminal allegations under the statute of limitations anyway.
District Attorney Tim Harris investigated the allegations against Taylor after two Tulsans filed complaints March 2, five days before Taylor won her Democratic primary.
Taylor, the state's former secretary of commerce and tourism, faces incumbent GOP Mayor Bill LaFortune and two independents in next Tuesday's general election.
Voter records showed that Taylor voted in the Nov. 7, 2000, presidential election in both Tulsa and Florida. Taylor said she voted by absentee ballot in Florida, where she lived at the time, but denied voting in Tulsa.
Harris said the poll registry books from which voter credit history records are transcribed had been destroyed after two years as allowed by state law. He said he could not determine which of 10 election workers responsible for transcribing the poll books handled Taylor's precinct.
Without the original poll books, Harris said he could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Taylor or anyone else voted in the election.
The precinct officials were also interviewed and none could identify Taylor as having voted that day, Harris said. No other witnesses could be found to establish that Taylor voted in Tulsa.
``This complaint arose during a political campaign and put a person's reputation and career at stake,'' said Harris, a Republican. ``It was my responsibility to put all politics aside and make a decision based upon objective findings. And that's exactly what was done.''
Harris said a three-year statute of limitations also applied, barring prosecution even if evidence supporting a criminal charge had been found.
Additionally, Harris said Taylor answered truthfully when asked on an Oklahoma Election Board form if she had been previously registered to vote in Oklahoma. The citizen complaints had asked for an investigation into whether Taylor failed to disclose her Florida voter registration when she moved to a new home in Tulsa.
The form asked, ``Have you been registered before?'' Taylor answered ``yes,'' and listed her previous Tulsa address, Harris said.
The form did not ask where she was last registered or if she was registered in another state. In that case, the election board would have notified Florida election officials, he said.