Thursday, September 02, 2004

Guymon, OK (AP) -- Early this afternoon, word was beginning to circulate that Rev. Don Wolf, the incumbent, was the winner in a very close race for the open seat on the Council of Priests. Reporters at each candidate's watch party headquarters were preparing for the concession and victory speeches, respectively. Fr. Hamilton, youngest candidate on the ballot, was moments away from the podium where he was to deliver a brief speech conceding the election, thanking his supporters, and asking God's blessing and guidance upon the re-elected incumbent and upon the entire Council.

But then a few hushed whispers were witnessed from campaign directors to Fr. Hamilton. Within seconds, Fr. Hamilton stepped back stage and his Press Secretary emerged. "Reverend Fathers, Religious Sisters, distinguished Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre, ladies and gentlemen," Sr. Mary Agnes, O.P. said, "we have just received word that some voting irregularities are being reported from Miami, Oklahoma. This leaves the Council of Priests election rather uncertain. Fr. Hamilton spoke earlier by telephone with the apparent victor of the election, Fr. Don Wolf. They exchanged a few brief words and the promise of prayer. This latest news, however, leaves us unsettled. Fr. Hamilton is, at this moment, calling Fr. Wolf again, to express interest in waiting for an official investigation before a victor is declared. He will be with us momentarily. In the meantime... uh, excuse me, ladies and gentlemen, Fr. Hamilton."

At this point Fr. Hamilton stepped to the podium to a very supportive crowd and a spontaneous schola that chanted "Christus Vincit. Christus Regnat. Christus Imperat!" Fr. Hamilton began, "Thank you. Thank you, very much. Please. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Since the close of the polls, we have had some anxious and now tumultuous hours. Admittedly, we are scrambling a bit now, not sure how to proceed. We have learned that voting irregularities are being reported in this election and an official investigation is opening into the matter. To restore a necessary confidence in our voting system, I believe a full investigation should be conducted and completed before a winner is declared in this race. Therefore, I hereby call upon the election commission to do a full recount of this election. Since voting takes place via fax machine, early reports claim that a few electronic glitches caused marks to appear next to different candidates' names, which were incorrectly counted as votes for a wrong candidate. Until this matter is reviewed I believe it would be irresponsible to declare a winner. In addition, my campaign is also calling upon former President Jimmy Carter to come and oversee the process of ballot recounting. This process must be entirely transparent and "above the table" if the matter is to be fairly resolved. Therefore, I thank you all now for your ongoing support and I ask for your patience. We will have another statement shortly."

Fr. Hamilton and his staff quickly left the stage area and the crowd of supporters slowly dissolved, leaving a sea of streamers, large "V"s, and empty offertory envelopes strewn on the ground.

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