The Hinds County Sheriff's Department is denying that it let three supporters of state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-MS), including a top official for McDaniel's campaign, into the Hinds County Courthouse late Tuesday night -- refuting the campaign's version of events which said they were directed inside by "uniformed personnel."So three pro-McDaniel people, one of whom was a high-ranking staffer, found themselves locked in a building with the election ballots until past three in the morning. And they say they were let in by guards, and the people actually doing the guarding are saying no, we most certainly did not. And the three seem to have conflicting stories as to how they got there.
A sheriff spokesman also told the Clarion-Ledger on Wednesday that the trio had given "conflicting stories." Then on Thursday, the department was more assertive in a statement to the newspaper.And how do you get locked in a building if you're a ballot observer anyhow? Where were you that you weren't with all the people, ya know, counting the ballots? Was this supposed to be an extended three-person bathroom break?
"It's important to note that Janis Lane's story and the other officials' stories continue to change through the investigation," he said. "They changed within five minutes, which caused us to be even more deliberate and determined to find out what was going on."
I'm dubious that these three were planning to fiddle with the election ballots or anything like that—they really don't seem the sort of crack political saboteurs needed for such a task. (Officials say they couldn't have gotten to the ballots anyway.) But this is Mississippi, and the Mississippi Senate race had already gotten really, really weird.