Canvassing announced

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 16, 2011

   By Billy Davis

Panola County Sheriff Otis Griffin is confirming he hired Clarksdale attorney Bill Luckett to canvass ballot boxes following the Nov. 8 General Election.

A canvass of election boxes is not a contest of the election results, though it can be the first step before contesting the results.

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Sheriff-elect Dennis Darby squeaked past the incumbent sheriff with a 135-vote win in the General Election.

The canvassing will take place Friday morning, Nov. 18 at 8 a.m., said Deputy Circuit Clerk Janice Dodd.

The sealed election boxes are stored at the county courthouse in Batesville.
     Darby told The Panolian he was served legal notice of the canvassing, which is required by law.

Any canvass of ballot boxes would mean scrutinizing absentee ballots, which can be notorious for being illegally cast due to a myriad of problems. Affidavit ballots can also be scrutinized.

 Darby led Griffin 695-586 in absentee ballots that were counted and election commissioners accepted 32 affidavit ballots the morning after the election.

Supporters of Darby oversaw a canvassing of ballot boxes in 2010 when Darby lost to the incumbent sheriff by 435 votes. That election recorded 1,222 absentee ballots and 118 affidavits.

Darby did not contest the election after last year’s canvassing.

Griffin’s plan to canvass ballot boxes was first posted Wednesday morning on The Panolian’s Facebook page. The page has been temporarily deactivated due to inappropriate comments and language.