West requests recount ballots

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 3, 1999

James West says he requested today’s recount of ballot boxes in an effort to &uot;know in my heart that everything was done fairly.&uot;

West, a candidate for Adams County District 5 supervisor, lost the Aug. 24 Democratic primary runoff by 91 votes to Lynwood Easterling.

&uot;Right now I’m just asking to examine the boxes,&uot; he said Wednesday. &uot;After we have the findings, we’ll determine then whether we’ll protest.&uot;

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West has 20 days from Aug. 24 to contest the election. During the recount that begins at 9 a.m. today at the Adams County Courthouse, West and his representatives will examine the ballot boxes from the four precincts in District 5:&160;Foster Mound, Oakland, Airport and Washington.

West said he requested the recount on Aug. 30 to resolve questions about discrepancies in the precinct totals. &uot;I’m just making sure everything was done fairly,&uot; he said. &uot;There are at least five discrepancies I’m concerned with.&uot;

Those discrepancies included a 26-vote difference in the Oakland precinct between ballots cast and voters signatures on the sign-in books.

West said he also plans to examine the voter sign-in books for cross-over voting, which is not allowed in Mississippi’s closed primaries.

Voters who cast votes in the Republican primaries were not allowed to vote in the Democratic run-offs, and vice versa for Democratic candidates.

&uot;I need to know in my heart that everything was done fairly,&uot; West said. &uot;I think if it were the other way around (Easterling) would do the same.&uot;

However Easterling, who faces independent candidate Eddie Jones in the Nov. 2 general election, said he would not pursue a recount if the positions were reversed.

&uot;I would not because of the 91 vote difference,&uot; Easterling said, adding that it is a significant number and any questions or discrepancies probably would not be enough to change the outcome of the election. &uot;If it has been a close vote …&uot;

Official results of the runoff gave Easterling 1,126 votes to West’s 1,035.

But,&160;&uot;it’s just part of the process,&uot; Easterling said. &uot;I’m satisfied with the results of the Democratic Committee.&uot;