Why not bring in a forensic document examiner?

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A reader of this site who happens to be an attorney writes to suggest that the City of Tulsa hire a forensic document examiner to look at the recall petition signatures and ensure that the requirements of the charter are fulfilled. My correspondent says is familiar with forensic document examination from his involvement in cases involving disputed wills.

Forensic document examination is a long recognized, valid forensic science. The classic textbook is Osborn on Questioned Documents. It is very, very difficult to fool a trained forensic document examiner. A well trained forensic document examiner given known and questioned signatures can determine forgeries pretty quickly. Shouldn't the City Council engage the services of a qualified forensic document examiner to determine whether there are sufficient genuine signatures on the recall petition for there to be a recall? To me it is absolutely inexcusable for the city clerk not to have made an eyeball comparison of signatures on the voting rolls and those on the recall petition.

I'm confident that with a qualified, independent examiner, it could be done very quickly and probably for less than $5K. KFAQ says it stands for what's right, and I tend to agree. We should not be afraid of what qualified handwriting examination of the recall petition reveals. If most signatures are forgeries there would be a huge uproar. If there are sufficient genuine signatures then the recall will have to be fought and won on the merits. I myself would be willing to throw some money into a fund to employ a qualified document examiner independent from the city clerk. The city clerk should have no fear of the examination, and it should not take more than a couple days.

Someone else has noticed that on a couple of petition pages, more than one signature seems to have been signed by the same hand. For example lines 7 and 8 on this petition and lines 23 and 24 on this petition. Compare the way the last name is signed -- my guess is that in these cases one spouse signed for both.

The City would save far more than $5,000 if the petitions prove to be invalid, just in the cost of holding the special elections alone. It would also clear away the recall issue at a time when more pressing matters face city government -- passing the general obligation bond issue in April and preparing a budget for the next fiscal year.

Councilors, if you're serious about adhering to the charter, let's make sure the signatures meet the charter requirements.


claretoothloose said:

What part of "your elected representatives couldn't care less what you think" don't you understand?

Jan Thomas said:

Michael - I have been examining the documents for District 6 and have found 4 sets of duplicate signatures. Who should I notify? They are :
Melba Cotney - page 5 and page 16
Mary Lou Ring - page 9 and page 38
Phyllis Gourley - page 12 and 26
Roy Hubbard - Page 16 and page 40

I am going to continue looking through tonight.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on March 11, 2005 12:31 PM.

What part of "shall" do you not understand? was the previous entry in this blog.

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