Election Contest

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

At the county courthouse in Batesville, Panola County election commissioner Ronald McMinn retrieves voting materials from sealed ballot boxes Tuesday night after the District 2 supervisor runoff. Supervisor candidate William Pride has alleged voter fraud in the election but was undecided Monday whether to contest the results. He has 20 days from Election Day to contest the results, according to Mississippi law. The Panolian photo by Billy Davis

One week later, candidate undecided about contesting

By Billy Davis

District 2 supervisor candidate William Pride said Monday he is still undecided about contesting the November 26 runoff results.

He has 20 days from Election Day to contest the results according to Mississippi law.

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Pride lost by 141 votes to incumbent Vernice Avant in the runoff.

Unofficial totals showed 1,398 people cast a ballot in the election.

Pride is weighing contesting the election after his poll watchers recorded possible voter fraud.

People who live outside District 2, and who live outside Panola County, were allowed to cast a ballot Tuesday, Pride alleged.   

A poll watcher also recorded that a poll manager cast electronic ballots for voters, among other allegations, according to the candidate.

Pride has also questioned the integrity of absentee ballots. A total of 162 absentee ballots were counted in Tuesday’s election – 87 for Avant and 75 for Pride.  

“My main concern is not to overturn the election,” Pride said. “My main concern is that this corruption doesn’t continue so whoever runs can compete in a fair election.”

Mrs. Avant, asked about her poll watchers, said they didn’t report any election problems Tuesday.

The Secretary of State’s office confirmed Tuesday that two election observers were dispatched to Panola County to observe the runoff.

A report from their observations is forthcoming.