Rupert Howell column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Election: Time to accept voters’ decision, move on

A suit filed by Panola County Sheriff Otis Griffin in Circuit Court last week is probably going nowhere.

If it was an attempt to petition for a judicial review, the first attempt was improper and the second was improper and a day late.

The canvassing that preceded the filing found few erroneous  ballots—certainly not enough to change the outcome of the election. That the filing occurred without the assistance of Griffin’s attorney, who worked during the canvassing, makes those of us on the outside think that he saw no reason to proceed.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

That Election Commission Chairman Ronald “Runt” McMinn, who claims to be friends with both the sheriff and sheriff-elect, said that it was the least controversial election he has witnessed in his years of service also points toward a fair election.

And, consider that observers from both the federal and state level were on hand at different precincts to witness election practices. No red flags arose from their observations, either.

While we tiptoe around the issue of race, Sheriff Griffin mentions it in his complaints in his filing against Darby. It’s no secret that Darby got most of the white votes and Griffin got most of the black votes. It’s natural that when we vote, especially if we aren’t familiar with the inner thoughts of a particular candidate, we vote for the one who looks like and acts most like us. It may not be the best way to choose our leaders but it is in our nature regardless and it is what is done in many cases.

Griffin has served this county well, coming into office under tragic circumstances. His election as the first county-wide elected black official in Panola came about to fill the unexpired term of the late Shot Bright and came with support of many in the white community.  

He has given his time while attempting to pull law enforcement agencies together and continuing the policies that elected his predecessor.

He has also assisted Panola municipalities such as Sardis and Crenshaw who have had difficulty keeping leaders at their respective police departments.

But a majority of voters, a small majority but a majority nonetheless, have decided that someone else should be the county’s head law enforcement official.

It’s time to move on.
Fair elections follow God and family as being sacred. It is my belief that the majority of good people of Panola County will not let election fraud rule, no matter who the candidate or opposition.