Articles Posted in Election Law

by
Craig Jones filed a petition for judicial review of the Tunica County Democratic Executive Committee’s (TCDEC) decision that he was not qualified to run in its primary for Tunica County Board of Supervisors, Beat Five position. The trial court found that Jones’ name should be on the primary ballot. TCDEC appealed, but failed to prosecute the appeal and kept Jones’ name off the primary ballot. The trial court then vacated the primary election one day before the general election, which took place and which was won by an independent candidate. Jones then petitioned under Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 60 for relief from the judgment vacating the primary election, which the trial court granted. Because the trial court lacked authority to enter the second and third orders, as no election contest was ever filed, the Mississippi Supreme Court vacated those orders and held the uncontested election results currently stand. View "Tunica County Democratic Executive Committee v. Jones" on Justia Law

by
This election contest arose out of the November 4, 2014, general election for the circuit judge seat in Mississippi’s eleventh circuit district, subdistrict 3. Charles Webster received 3,255 votes, whereas Chaka Smith received 2,369 votes. Of the total votes cast, 390 were cast by absentee ballot. Webster received 296 of the absentee ballots and Smith received the remaining 94. After the election had been certified, Smith conducted statutory examinations of the ballot boxes. During the examinations, Smith requested to photocopy or scan the contents of the ballot boxes. The Coahoma, Quitman, and Tunica County circuit clerks denied these requests. Smith filed a petition in the Quitman County Circuit Court seeking both declaratory relief and to contest the election, seeking a declaration on whether he had the right to make copies of election documents before contesting the election. In addition, Smith argued most of the absentee ballots violated Mississippi law and were comingled to the extent that illegal absentee ballots could not be separated from legal ones. Webster successfully moved for summary judgment; the trial court found no genuine issue of material fact existed regarding which candidate received the most votes in the election. Smith appealed. Finding no error in the grant of summary judgment in favor of Webster, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "Smith v. Webster" on Justia Law

by
Once removed from office, a justice court judge may not return to it by reelection or otherwise Former Justice Court Judge Rickey Thompson challenged the Lee County Democratic Executive Committee’s decision to withhold his name from the general-election ballot for a new term as a justice court judge, based on the Court’s order removing him from the office of justice court judge prior to the election. The circuit court dismissed Thompson’s case, finding him ineligible for judicial office. The Mississippi Supreme Court concurred with the circuit court and affirmed. Thompson also claimed that the proper procedures for removing him from the ballot were not followed, as neither the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance nor the Lee County Election Commission had authority to disqualify him. Because the Supreme Court held that Thompson’s removal was permanent, it did not address whether the proper procedures for removing him from the ballot were followed. View "Thompson v. Mississippi Attorney General" on Justia Law

by
Tasha Dillon contested the results of the August 4, 2015, Democratic primary for Mississippi House of Representatives (“House”) District 98. The Pike County Circuit Court dismissed the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. Dillon appealed. Finding that the circuit court erred in finding it lacked jurisdiction, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Dillon v. Myers" on Justia Law

by
Floyd McKee contested the election after he was defeated by Joe Chandler in the Democratic primary run-off election for District 5 Supervisor of Clay County. After the Clay County Democratic Executive Committee (CCDEC) ruled in favor of Chandler, McKee filed a petition for judicial review with the Clay County Circuit Court. Chandler filed a motion to dismiss McKee’s petition, arguing that it was not timely filed. This interlocutory appeal stems from the circuit court’s denial of Chandler’s motion to dismiss. Finding that the circuit court erred in failing to grant Chandler’s motion to dismiss, the Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s judgment and remanded this case back to the circuit court with instructions to dismiss McKee’s petition for judicial review. View "Chandler v. McKee" on Justia Law

by
Dr. Willie Wilson timely submitted his petition and qualification papers to the Mississippi State Democratic Executive Committee (the “Party”), to run for President in the 2016 Democratic primary. The Party rejected Dr. Wilson’s petition but later reconsidered and requested the Mississippi Secretary of State to place Dr. Wilson’s name on the primary ballot. But, because absentee and overseas military voting had already begun, the Secretary of State refused. The Circuit Court of Hinds County refused to grant Dr. Wilson an injunction and he appealed. Under the particular facts and circumstances of this case, the Supreme Court found that Dr. Wilson’s due process rights were violated, so the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Wilson v. Hosemann" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

by
The Union County Election Commission disqualified Roger Browning from running for Union County Superintendent of Education, finding that he was not a qualified elector of the Union County School District. The Circuit Court overturned the Commission’s decision and issued an injunction requiring Browning’s name to be placed on the ballot for the general election. James Basil, the incumbent Union County Superintendent of Education appealed the circuit court’s decision, arguing that Browning did not meet the residency requirement to serve as county superintendent. After review, the Supreme Court held that Browning, a resident of the New Albany Municipal Separate School District, was not eligible to run for Union County Superintendent of Education. Accordingly, the Court reversed the Circuit Court and rendered judgment in Basil’s favor. View "Basil v. Browning" on Justia Law

by
Appellee Adrian Shipman filed a Petition Appealing the Attorney General's Ballot Title for Legislative Alternative Measure 42A in the First Judicial District of Hinds County. The petition asked the circuit court to review the ballot title drafted by the Attorney General for the Alternative Measure, which the Legislature proposed as an amendment to Measure 42, itself a ballot measure proposed by petition of qualified electors pursuant to Section 273 of the Mississippi Constitution. Although the Legislature of the State of Mississippi, as appellant, raised several issues, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that the circuit court had no authority to entertain an appeal of the Attorney General's ballot title for a legislatively created amendment to a ballot measure. Accordingly, the Court reversed the circuit court's judgment. View "Legislature of the State of Mississippi v. Shipman" on Justia Law

by
In October 2013, William “Bill” Stone moved from Ashland in Benton County to Holly Springs in Marshall County. He sought the Democratic Party nomination for the newly-created Senate District 10, a district which encompassed parts of Marshall County, including Stone’s home in Holly Springs, and parts of Tate County. In 2015, Steve Hale, a resident of Tate County who also sought the Democratic nomination for District 10, filed an objection to Stone’s candidacy with the State of Mississippi Democratic Executive Committee, arguing that Stone was ineligible to run for that office because he did not meet the two-year residency requirement enunciated in Article 4, Section 42, of the Mississippi Constitution. After a hearing, the Executive Committee rejected Hale’s objection and certified that Stone satisfied the qualifications for candidacy. Hale sought judicial review at the Circuit Court. That court held affirmed. Hale then appealed to the Supreme Court. After review, the Supreme Court affirmed the Circuit Court, finding it was not manifest error in that the Circuit Court held Stone had proven that he had established his domicile in Marshall County and that he therefore was qualified to run for the office of senator for District 10. View "Hale v. State of Mississippi Democratic Executive Committee" on Justia Law

by
Democratic candidate Bobbie Miller successfully challenged independent incumbent Dimp Powell for the office of mayor of Isola. Prior to the election, the Municipal Election Commission of Isola approved the placement of Miller’s name on the ballot despite the fact that a Democratic Municipal Executive Committee was not in existence by the time of the qualifying deadline for candidates. Powell challenged the Election Commission’s decision in circuit court via a writ of mandamus, requesting the court to order the Commission not to place Miller’s name on the ballot or, in the alternative, to order that any votes cast for Miller not be counted. After an emergency evidentiary hearing, held the week prior to the election, the court denied relief. Powell appealed. The Mississippi Supreme Court held that the circuit court did not have jurisdiction to hear Powell’s challenge via a writ of mandamus. The appropriate procedural mechanism for challenging the decision of a municipal authority was through a bill of exceptions under Mississippi Code Section 11-51-75. The Court affirmed the outcome of the circuit court’s holding. Because the Court affirmed on jurisdictional grounds, it did not reach the merits of whether Miller’s name should not have been permitted on the ballot when there was no Democratic Municipal Executive Committee in existence at the time of the qualifying deadline. View "Powell v. Municipal Election Comm'n Town of Isola" on Justia Law