Order bars Smith’s name from November ballot

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 19, 2003

WOODVILLE &045; On Wednesday, Sixth Circuit Judge Lillie Blackmon Sanders issued an injunction preventing Wilkinson County officials from placing Second District Supervisor Kirk Smith’s name on the November general election ballot until a hearing is held on a petition contesting the results of last month’s Democratic primary elections.

The action was requested by Richard Hollins, who challenged Smith for the Second District Supervisor’s seat.

Smith was declared the winner in the August 26 runoff election by an 11-vote margin.

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The runoff came after the two candidates tied in the first primary election on August 5.

After the runoff election, Hollins filed a request with Wilkinson County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Don Walsh to examine the contents of the ballot boxes.

Walsh said Hollins’ request was denied because it was not filed within time limits prescribed by state law.

Meanwhile, Smith obtained an injunction in Wilkinson County Chancery Court preventing Hollins, Circuit Clerk Mon Allen and members of the Wilkinson County Democratic Executive Committee from opening the ballot boxes.

Hollins then filed a petition with the committee alleging in part that absentee ballots were improperly rejected by poll workers and that voters were paid to vote for Smith.

Hollins further alleges that the committee improperly certified the results of the election and that only the Circuit Court has exclusive jurisdiction over election matters.

Sanders’ injunction requires the committee to hold a hearing on Hollins’ allegations within seven days and allow Hollins to examine the contents of the ballot boxes prior to the hearing.

As of Thursday evening, the committee had not set a date for the hearing.

Smith is represented by Woodville attorney David S. &uot;Shep&uot; Crawford.

Hollins has retained Hazlehurst attorney Caroll Rhodes.