PAC president voting rights removal stopped

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 09:24 AM.

Hanlon, who is the final authority on removing a voter from the Gulf County rolls, said he immediately stopped the process.

“Taking somebody off the voter rolls, that is a pretty major thing to have happen,” Hanlon said. “That is our most fundamental right, voting. I could not remove anybody just based on a letter.”

Hanlon said that if provided information on the felony conviction and lack of restoration of rights, he would begin anew the process of removing Garth from the voting rolls.

Garth’s “apparent” voting rights and felony conviction – which Garth has stated could only be the result of actions more than four decades ago – was a finding from the State Attorney investigation into an alleged “extortion” attempt against County Commissioner Warren Yeager.

Hess closed that investigation, which examined actions by Citizens Improving Gulf County and St. Joe Beach resident Tom Graney, the only person mentioned in the letter closing the case, on Oct. 16.

In closing the case at that time Hess made no mention of Garth’s conviction. The case was reopened based on “new information” after a “heated exchange” about the investigation during the Oct. 25 meeting of the Board of County Commissioners.

During that meeting former Commissioner Bill Williams acknowledged wearing a wire during the investigation and a private citizen made assertions about the case that ultimately were not borne out by the investigative file released to the public by Hess’s office.

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