Harden vote hearing set for Monday

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 26, 2000

Natchez Alderman George Harden will have a chance Monday to explain why he’s protesting the results of the May 2 first primary.

Harden, a four-term incumbent, lost the Ward 2 alderman election to political newcomer James &uot;Ricky&uot; Gray by 107 votes.

The nine-member Democratic Municipal Executive Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Monday at city council chambers on South Pearl Street. The hearing is public, and both candidates will have the chance to speak during the hearing.

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Harden, who filed the petition Monday, said Thursday he will bring &uot;quite a bit of fraud&uot; before the Democratic committee.

&uot;I’m hoping people in Natchez will realize and see what people will do in order to be fraudulent in an election,&uot; he said. &uot;That day and time ought to be gone.&uot;

Gray said Thursday that he will attend Monday’s hearing, but he does not believe he has to defend any of his actions.

&uot;I don’t have to defend myself,&uot; Gray said. &uot;I didn’t do anything. When the Lord does something, nobody can take it away. When God’s for you, the devil can’t hurt you.&uot;

Harden and Gray examined the ballots after the Democratic committee certified them May 4.

Harden’s petition asks the Democratic committee to recertify the results of the election and call for a new election.

Harden’s petition claims that 85 absentee ballots were improperly cast and should not have been counted by the committee because they did not include an envelope showing the application for voting absentee had been properly secured or mailed to the city clerk.

When absentee ballots are turned into the city clerk’s office, they must in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal by the voter. The ballots must be accompanied by a second sealed envelope with the application for an absentee ballot, also signed across the seal.

Harden’s petition also claims 72 people were allowed to vote in the Ward 2 election &uot;who were not in fact bona fide residents of Ward 2, and in fact, some were not even residents of the City of Natchez, Adams County or the State of Mississippi,&uot; the petition says.