By Ryan S. Walters | @ryanswalters73
On Saturday, Claude McInnis, Sr. passed away in Jackson. The Clarion Ledger ran a story on his death, praising him as “a public servant,” “a noted leader in the Democratic Party,” and a longtime supporter of Jackson State, as well as his work with the youth in the city. The paper also ran several statements from city leaders, such as Mayor Tony Yarber, who praised McInnis as a “well respected” leader whose work on behalf of the Democratic Party “helped shape the political landscape in Hinds County.”
Yet in the write up for Mr. McInnis, the Clarion Liar never once mentioned that it was McInnis who accused Hinds County GOP chair Pete Perry of wanting to “break the law” and steal the election against Senator Chris McDaniel during the Mississippi Senate runoff on June 24, 2014. Sure, the paper once quoted McInnis as having said that but the quote came at the very end of an article and came from Breitbart, not from one of their own reporters. To my knowledge, they never did send anyone out to talk to McInnis about those allegations.
But Matthew Boyle of Breitbart actually did interview McInnis during the hubbub surrounding the runoff fraud:
In an interview with Breitbart News on Thursday, McInnis–the Hinds County Democrats’ top official–said that Perry asked Democrats to help him “break the law” by working together to accept Democratic voters who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary and in Tuesday’s GOP runoff.
Charging that Perry “has never ran a legal election in this state” because “he was never qualified by the Secretary of State’s office,” McInnis alleged that Perry asked him and county Democrats not to share records of who voted in each primary on June 3. The practice–called “switching the books”–is where, heading into a runoff, Democrats and Republicans swap poll books that list which voters voted in the respective parties’ recent primaries.
“The Democrats get the Republican book and the Republicans get the Democrat book to protect against crossover voting,” McInnis said. “In Mississippi and a lot of other states, if you voted in the Republican primary, you must only vote in the Republican runoff; you can’t switch.”
With only a 6,700-vote difference between McDaniel and Cochran, McInnis, according to Boyle, estimated that after their review, McDaniel’s team would find thousands of illegal crossover votes. “I’m going to guess 3,000. It may be more, but I only have access to the Democratic votes, so that’s what I’m guessing the difference may be.”
So, according to McInnis, there were at least 3,000 illegal votes in one county, which is nearly half the total McDaniel needed statewide.
McInnis also told Boyle that that Perry personally decided which absentee ballots in Hinds County would be allowed and which ones would not: “This is a thing that’s supposed to happen at the precincts,” he said. “But we watched him decide which absentees would be voted and which absentees were not going to be voted. He also decided which affidavits would be voted and which ones would not. We watched him do that. We watched them break the law.”
And just as a side note, Thad Cochran’s sister-in-law, Connie Cochran, is the election commissioner in Hinds County.
But did the Clarion Ledger do any work on this serious allegation of voter fraud? No they didn’t. They certainly praised McInnis on the day of his passing, and that’s a good thing, but if he is so honorable of a man, and I certainly believe he is, then why did they not think his allegations against Pete Perry were honorable enough to cover them? And not only cover them but to do their own investigation?
The Mississippi Senate runoff in 2014 was one of the worst cases of voter fraud in recent memory and showcased just how much of a sham our democracy has become. But to have the state’s major newspaper refuse to investigate it, and now to act as though it didn’t exist might just be worse. We rely on the media to expose the truth and root out corruption. But the CL went to great lengths to excuse it and cover it up.