Issues surrounding Laurens Dist. 55 Referendum to be investigated

LAURENS ELECTION
LAURENS ELECTION

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating whether free fish sandwiches and coupons that were given to voters, was buying votes.

The 8th Circuit Solicitor, David Stumbo, contacted SLED to initiate an investigation on Tuesday, said SLED.

Coupons were handed out to voters that said Kids Come First, which is the name of the Vote Yes group. The coupon also stated “I Voted. Bearer of this ticket can receive a free fish sandwich”. People at the Vote Yes Headquarters handed out fish sandwiches to those who voted. Organizers stated that they were giving the food to everyone that voted, not just Yes voters. State law says that it unlawful to vote, offer, or propose to vote for or against any particular candidate or measure for the consideration of money or other article of value paid, delivered, or promised, vote or offer or propose to vote for or against any particular candidate or measure.

That is not the only complaint coming out of this election.

Representative Mike Pitts says that he received several calls asking for help, so he took out an ad in the Laurens County Advertiser that said the following: “Teachers, Faculty and Staff of Laurens District 55 Schools present or recently departed. If you have felt direct of indirect pressure by the school board or administration concerning the upcoming bond referendum, please contact Rep. Mike Pitts 864-923-2925. Confidentiality guaranteed.”

Pitts says District 55 teachers, administrators, and employees reached out to them saying they received indirect threats verbally and written through emails. Pitts also stated he took calls from two businesses that they would lose the district’s business if they did not quit pushing a no vote.

Pitts plans to take the allegations of voter intimidation to the Attorney General on Friday.

We contacted District 55 Spokesperson Ed Murray who stated the district would not comment on the allegations of intimidation of school employees.

We reached out to board members Robby Belly and Terri Martin for comment regarding the SLED investigation. At the time of this article, we had not heard back from either of them.