Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS -- A candidate in the runoff race for St. Bernard sheriff is claiming widespread voter fraud in the early voting for this Saturday's election.

Wayne Landry is disputing hundreds of ballots from voters he claims no longer live in the parish.

His opponent, Jimmy Pohlmann, said the vote challenge is a desperate act by Landry to get votes this last week of the campaign.

'It's a sad day in St. Bernard,' Landry said.

Landry held a late afternoon new conference to reveal what he called new evidence of voter fraud during the early balloting for Saturday's parishwide election.

Tuesday, he filed more than 1300 challenges contesting the validity of the early ballots.

He claims his campaign found more evidence Wednesday of people voting in the St. Bernard election who no longer live here.

'1400 more people have been identified who don't have addresses in St. Bernard,' he said.

Pohlmann responded, saying, 'To paint this with a broad brush and say that everybody outside St. Bernard Parish that's been displaced is committing voter fraud is absurd.'

Pohlmann points to Louisiana's displaced voters act. It says that if you were displaced by hurricanes Katrina or Rita, you may remain registered to vote in your pre-hurricane address as long as you do not register to vote in another parish or state.

'I think what you see Landry doing is just another desperate act to try and cause some chaos in the election,' Pohlmann said. 'This election people have a right to vote, the law says that. Let them vote.'

Landry points to another section of Louisiana law that states if a person claims a homestead exemption, he shall register to vote in the precinct in which the residence is located.

'There can't be any confusion when over two dozen deputies that don't live in St. Bernard are voting in St. Bernard.

A spokesman for the state's top election official, Secretary of State Tom Schedler, said the office has yet to receive the contested ballots from St. Bernard.

But the office is working with the Landry campaign to resolve the issue.

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