Election Integrity, Assault, & Intimidation

Chase Matheson - April 6, 2022

BENTON COUNTY, TN - Back in April of 2021 the Patriot Punk Network covered a story regarding Election "Hanky Panky" in Benton County. Some outlets even described the scandal as a "hostile takeover to eliminate paper ballots". Since then, a few women in the town of Camden have stayed vigilant and gotten involved. Their reward? They were assaulted, criminally charged, and are now being sued for $300,000.00 by the individuals who assaulted them.  
In June of 2021 Election Administrator Mark Ward was removed from his position in the Benton County Election Commission. The board that voted to remove him was comprised of all NEW members after the State Election Commission had, through abnormal means, replaced all 5 incumbent members of the board. The state, not having the power to remove a county's Administrator of Elections, revoked his certification in a "Show-Cause Hearing" on June 14, 2021. 

The hearing should have been more accurrately called a "Dog and Pony Show Hearing" because from the first few moments you could tell it was "just for show". What is worse, the State Election Commission didn't even bother to "fake it" and just a few minutes into Mark Ward's defense arguments, 2 of the board members got up and left the room, without even excusing themselves or asking for a recess. Watch the video below:
mark ward show cause hearing - aka "pony show" - june 14, 2021
Dozens of citizens from Benton County had made the trip to Nashville for the "Pony Show" and were in utter dismay when they saw how unfair the State Election Commission treated Mr. Ward. Why was Mr. Ward treated so unfairly? Locals allege it was because he had made some very public allegations regarding Election Coordinator Mark Goins, ES&S voting systems, and what Ward (and others) believed to be ethical concerns. Others say it comes from a disagreement between Ward and Benton County Mayor Brett Lashlee and was a result of Lashlee pulling strings on the State level. 
Whatever the cause, the "Pony Show" resulted in Mark Ward being decertified by the State Election Commission and sparked a "Special Meeting" of the Benton County Election Commission.
During all of this drama within the Benton County Election Commission a handful of citizens saw it as their duty to get involved. 3 of those citizens, women, began attending every public meeting and livestreaming the proceedings so that members of the county unable to attend could get involved, too. Cristy Baldwin is a single mother of two, her mother Debbie Baldwin is a City Alderman who is semi-retired, and Debi Capriato is a disabled-veteran. These women aimed to make a difference locally, and soon dozens of people were tuning into the livestream videos! 

After the "Pony Show" and the de-certification of Mark Ward, the newly-installed members of the County Election Commission voted to remove him as administrator. It was during this meeting one of the new election commissioners, Gina Beasley, made the statement, "You've got democrats on here now, and you're going to back off!" Representative Bruce Griffey also spoke during the meeting in support of Mark Ward. "What Mark Ward has told you about the differences between Mr. Ward and Mr. Goins are EXACTLY accurate." 

Towards the end of that same meeting Gina Beasley states that they have gone "against the State Advice" by allowing so many citizens to speak. She confirms her statement again when she says "We have been advised not to hear you all and we've heard enough!" You can watch the highlights of that meeting below. 

Special called meeting of the benton county election commission - june 24, 2021
The following week, Ms. Baldwin took her soon-to-be-18-year-old daughter to register to vote. Mrs. Beasley and another commissioner threatened to call the sheriff's department for videoing within moments of them entering the office. These encounters were posted on social media in an attempt to raise awareness and a majority of viewers appeared flabbergasted by what they saw.

During the July meeting everything seemed civil and a new administrator of Elections was voted in by the new board. Then, on the night of September 23, 2021 for some reason everything boiled over. At the conclusion of the meeting Cristy Baldwin approaches the counter and asks a question regarding her planned run for local school board. At this time Gina Beasley can be seen walking up to the livestream camera, removing her mask, waving, and saying "Wonder when my turn is to complain". The livestream cuts off shortly after, and the security footage obtained does not have sound. 

It appears after approximately 3 minutes of standing at the counter some words are exchanged and then Gina's husband Al approaches Debbie Baldwin. Debbie appears to be saying "I'm not talking to you" and then she puts her hand up in a defensive posture. At this point Debbie can be seen saying "back off" multiple times. Cristy says something and Al leans towards the Baldwins waving both hands in what appears to be a "come at me bro" fashion. Debbie can then be seen pulling out her phone and alleges she was about to record the incident, and this is when Gina lunges forward and slaps her hands. You can watch the entire assault below.
Benton county fight night - september 23, 2021
The women tried to press charges for assault; local law enforcement and the DA's office played Hot Potato with the case until January. At this point the women decided to press forward with a civil lawsuit in hopes of there being some form of accountability. At this time Gina Beasley was still an active member of the Election commission. The civil suit was filed, and during the January 13, 2022 Election Commission meeting another member announces Gina's resignation from the board.
In March something finally kicked into gear and criminal citations were issued to all 5 parties involved. To Gina and Al Beasley for assault, and to Cristy, her mother and Debi for disorderly conduct. Gina and Al took a retirement where should they get in trouble again in the next 6 months they will have to reappear in court. If they do not get in trouble for 6 months, the charges will be dropped after they pay court costs. While the 3 women have maintained their innocence. They face another criminal court date on April 18, 2022 in the Benton County Courthouse located in the Square of Camden, TN.
Not only do the women now need to obtain attorneys to represent them in Criminal Court, but immediately after the Beasley's diversion was accepted by the courts the 3 victims were served a counter suit asking for $300,000.00 in damages. 

The lawsuit, which can be read below, makes mention of memes the women shared on social media, and accuses the women of attacking them, though the women face no criminal charges for assault. The women, who only wanted to see more transparency in their local government now face losing everything they own in a lawsuit or going into debt $20,000 to clear their name. All because they got involved. Is this the America we live in?

Legal funds, in part, are being raised by Act Free NOW. If you would like to donate to support the legal defenses of the 3 women, please visit 

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