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Perkins files election contest in Circuit Judge race

Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 11:56 am News Flash Archive

Takiyah Perkins, who lost the run-off for Circuit Judge District 4-3 on November 25th by 77 votes, has filed an election contest against her opponent, Carol White-Richard. Perkins is represented by her father, State Representative Willie J. Perkins, Sr. of Greenwood.

Last Monday (December 8th), Perkins had begun inspecting the ballot boxes in Leflore County, and it was widely surmised that an election contest would be forthcoming. He later inspected the boxes in Sunflower and Washington Counties, which make up portions of the judicial sub-district.

Perkins makes a variety of the usual election contest claims: that persons cast illegal votes that did not live in the district; that affidavit ballots cast were not counted when they should have been; that illegal absentee ballots were counted that did not have the proper signatures, seals, and witnesses; and that votes were cast on the voting machines without a corresponding signature in the receipt books.

The most troubling claim, however, is that during the redistricting, voters were improperly moved from District 4-3 into adjoining districts in Leflore County due to the failure of the election officials to create the necessary sub-precincts to properly conduct the election.

Perkins claims that the Leflore County Board of Supervisors made these illegal changes, but in fact, it would have been election officials who are responsible to create proper sub-precincts to handle the shifting lines and the districts that cut across precinct lines.

Supervisors are responsible to establish precinct lines, supervisor districts, Justice Court districts, and School Board districts, but they have no input into legislative, judicial, or congressional districts.

The Mississippi legislature defined the geographical bounds of Circuit Court District 4-3 in 1994, and according to Perkins' complaint, those lines have never been changed by the legislature since then.

But when the Supervisors redistricted the county in 2012, Perkins claims that the lines were changed without authority, and voters were moved to different precincts which were no longer assigned to Circuit Court District 4-3.

If Perkins' claim is correct, the failure would have been with election officials, who failed to notice that the judicial district lines no longer matched the precinct lines, and therefore failed to create the proper sub-precincts to ensure that voters were not improperly removed from District 4-3.

Perkins claims that some 450 registered voters were thus deprived of their right to cast ballots in the disputed race.

Perkins asks that the election be held again in the affected precincts, or that the court declare Perkins the winner, and remove Carol White-Richard from office.

The complaint, filed yesterday in Leflore County Circuit Court, may be read here:
Perkins v. White-Richard Election Contest

As of 11 o'clock Tuesday morning, the Mississippi Supreme Court has not yet appointed a Judge to hear this election contest. All election contests are heard by judges appointed from other districts by the Supreme Court.

In an interesting side-note, this is probably the first time in state history that a mother and daughter have had election contests pending simultaneously. Takiyah Perkins' mother, Sheriel Perkins, has an election contest pending against Greenwood Mayor Carolyn McAdams. That contest has been pending since June 2013, and is set for trial January 12th.

John Pittman Hey
The Taxpayers Channel

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