Motions were heard by Judge Gearin in the Election Contest of the $96 million bond referendum case in the Washington County 10th District Court today. Judge Gearin denied the motions to dismiss by defendant South Washington County ISD 833, and has not yet issued a ruling on the plaintiff’s motion for an expert witness to examine the five challenged ballots that will determine the outcome of a $96 million bond referendum from November 3, 2015.
The court will reconvene (today) Monday afternoon at 1pm. Judge Gearin will hear arguments from both sides regarding four of the five ballots and rule on those ballots today. If the court denies the plaintiffs’ motion for an expert witness, then all five ballots will be seen by the judge today.
Judge Gearin acknowledged that this case was very important, not just to taxpayers and the school district in South Washington County, but also because “voting is a sacred privilege.” Judge Gearin also expressed that she “is a ‘way station’ on the road to the appellate courts…” in an acknowledgement that no matter what happens in her courtroom today, the case most likely will be appealed by one of the parties involved.
Community members were in the courtroom, supporting both sides. Superintendent Jacobus sat with school district attorney Kenney, and board members Michelle Witte and Katie Schwartz were also in attendance. A notable attendee was candidate David Gerson (Congressional Second District Candidate).
UPDATE: The Plaintiff’s motion for an expert witness was denied. Judge Gearin heard arguments on all five ballots when court reconvened at 1pm on Jan. 4. The judge will have the decision by the end of the week.
Updated 9:10am 01/06/2016