Hearing set for Pride’s complain 9/4/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 4, 2015

Hearing set for Pride’s complain

By Rupert Howell
District Two Democratic Supervisor candidate William Pride is not bowing out of last month’s primary election and a hearing has tentatively been set for Tuesday, September 15 at 6 p.m. at the Batesville Courthouse.

A previous hearing set for Wednesday, September  2 was postponed after incumbent Vernice Avant’s attorney could not attend.

Avant apparently got the nomination during the first primary held August 4 with 51.04 percent of the vote with Pride following and Roger Salter coming in third.

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Avant’s unofficial total was 626, Pride’s, 472, and Salter’s, 122. One percent would equal approximately 12 votes.

A canvassing of District Two ballot boxes revealed some discrepancies, according to Pride’s letter to county and state Democratic chairpersons Lourine Robinson and Ricky Cole.
Pride’s letter claims that discrepancies found with ballots, and other allegations, may have caused a need for a runoff. Pride’s complaint cites 20 accepted absentee ballot envelopes that had never been opened or counted.

“In various precincts, we found absentee ballots where the same person witnessed the absentee and assisted the person in filling out the ballot,” according to Pride’s communication with party leaders. “This is a violation of election law as determined by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office,” it stated.

Other complaints included, “. . . Upon opening the voter box there was a broken seal,” occurring in the Curtis precinct.

The same complaint states that the same box was missing the absentee ballot sleeve for a known absentee voter.

The complaint further alleges the Democratic chairperson decided not to use electronic voting machines in certain precincts,” a power reserved for the election commission,” the complaint states.

Pride’s complaint also included signed and notarized affidavits that alleged: voting intimidation by poll watchers for the incumbent candidates, biased poll workers, campaigning in too close proximity to the polls, an election commissioner with ballots filled out prior to the election, a voting machine tally that was greater than the number on the sign-in sheet in the Crenshaw precinct; poll workers directing campaign workers of the responsibilities if they were to be paid; voters being directed away from their proper voting places.

Pride’s request for a hearing asks for immediate relief as, “the will of the people has not been determined” and requests the Democratic Party to investigate.

If a reasonable solution is not found by the party, Pride can then appeal to the Circuit Court.