Election challenge continues
District 4 supervisor candidate Jim Harreld has requested a speedy appeal by the Mississippi Supreme Court in his challenge of the 2019 general election which he lost to Karl Banks by 57 votes.
Harreld filed an appeal following Special Circuit Judge Lamar Pickard’s April 30 ruling that the evidence Harreld presented was insufficient to order a new election.
Final briefs were due to the Mississippi Supreme Court on Sept. 11, but Banks was granted a one-week extension to this Friday to submit. There is no timeline on when the court could rule on the appeal.
Harreld claims in his brief to the Supreme Court that Pickard erred in his ruling and that over 200 votes cast in his race were from people who did not reside in District 4 or did reside in the District but were given a different ballot.
Harreld contends that election officials did not use the boundary lines adopted by the Madison County Board of Supervisors in 2011, instead relying upon incorrect boundary lines in the Statewide Election Management System (SEMS). SEMS is maintained by county circuit clerks and election commissioners.
"There is simply no reason to suspect that the remaining ballots questioned by Harreld were cast in such a way as to require their disqualification," Pickard’s April ruling stated. "Without question, there are certainly no sufficient questions raised to cast doubt on the will of the voters in the election."
Pickard said discounting those ballots in question would “disenfranchise” those voters.
Harreld contends that the voters living in the district are being disenfranchised because the majority’s voice is being suppressed by those not residing in the district.
“The various ballots counted or not counted in violation of mandatory provisions of Mississippi election law only further confirm a new election is required,” Harreld’s brief argues.
This is the second challenge in Madison County’s District 4 supervisor district in the last two election cycles that has made its way to the Mississippi Supreme Court. Banks filed an appeal to his challenge that lasted nearly four years before David Bishop, the Republican incumbent, lost to Harreld in last year’s Republican primary.