Judge Persons expected to rule in election contest

Published 12:01 am Thursday, February 28, 2008

WOODVILLE — An official ruling for the three-month Wilkinson County election contest is expected today.

Judge Jim Persons notified all attorneys involved in the case last Thursday that he plans to call for a new election, but an official ruling has not yet been rendered.

Persons said in the notice he would render the verdict within seven days of Feb. 21.

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Persons decided to call for a new election after he ruled that the absentee, affidavit and curbside ballots from the Aug. 7 Democratic primary could not be considered as evidence in the contest because their chain of custody was in question.

Attorneys for the challengers to the election — circuit clerk candidate Lynn Tolliver Delaney, supervisor candidate Kirk Smith and sheriff candidate Jessie Stewart — tried to convince Persons to keep the machine-counted ballots.

In his unofficial notice, Persons said with the exclusion of the paper ballots the will of the voters of Wilkinson County could not be determined.