The Magoffin County judge-executive's election last year was so corrupt that Kentucky's second-highest court declared Friday they don't know who won, throwing the results out and declaring the office vacant.
The 2-1 decision upholds an earlier circuit court ruling that highlights eastern Kentucky's 100-year history of vote buying in local elections. If the decision stands, it would likely trigger a special election in November.
Charles Hardin, the incumbent, defeated John Montgomery by 28 votes. But Montgomery sued, offering evidence of vote buying and bribes.
The appeals court said the evidence was strong those violations occurred, but they were not enough to alter the election. Instead, the court chided local election officials for not properly collecting and counting absentee ballots.
Hardin's attorney said he can remain in office while the case is appealed.