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Aldermen consider further postponement of elections

NATCHEZ — The City of Natchez municipal election may be postponed a second time due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting, the Natchez Mayor and Board of Aldermen, who had previously postponed the primary election from April 7 until May 12, discussed pushing the election back to June 2 with a possible run-off on June 23 and a general election on July 14.

Election commissioner Larry Gardner said poll workers and commission members are “still very concerned” about their safety and the safety of the voters and said pushing the election back further would allow more people time to vote on absentee ballots and give candidates time to campaign once the pandemic passes.

Gardner said because the new election schedule would run into the start of the next mayor and board’s term, it would have to be classified as a “special election” instead.

Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux Mathis said she was apprehensive about changing the type of election, saying that it could cause candidates to challenge the results or affect the length of the next board’s term in office.

Mathis offered a motion that the election commission and City Attorney Bob Latham seek written clarification from the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s office as to whether the board could legally reclassify the municipal election and still have a four-year term for the newly elected officials. Mathis’ motion passed unanimously.

Natchez City Clerk Servia Fortenberry said absentee ballots are still available and can be requested via email to sfortenberry@natchez.ms.us or by phone call to the city clerk’s office at 601-445-7507.