House candidates await final election results

Published 5:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2007

Voters interested in whether there will be a runoff in theDistrict 92 primary between Becky Currie and Paul Barnett will haveto wait at least one more day as some ballots in two Copiah Countyprecincts have not been counted.

Franklin County and Lincoln County officials said their ballotshave been counted, but they are awaiting certification. They expectthe process to be done this afternoon.

Affidavit ballots in Copiah County are still yet to be counted.A Copiah County Republican Party official said they would be donesoon.

“We’re going to do that this morning,” said Copiah CountyRepublican Chairman Alton Funchess Thursday. “I’ve got plenty ofother things to do. I have a business to run and and other thingsto take care of.”

Affidavit ballots are ones cast when there is a question about avoter’s residency in a precinct. After initial vote-counting,questions about the affidavit ballots are resolved and, if allowed,their votes counted.

House District 92 includes parts of Lincoln, Franklin and Copiahcounties.

In Copiah County, the Beauregard and Wesson precincts both votedin the District 92 race. Of the recorded votes at the polls,Beauregard had six Republican votes, while Wesson reported 49.

It was not know how many affidavit ballots in those twoprecincts needed to be counted. Funchess said he believes the lawgives him 10 days to count and certify affidavit ballots.

“We don’t jump every time someone hollers,” he said. “I couldhave done it yesterday. I had other important things to do.”

Funchess, who acknowledged taking the day off the play golf,said the ballots will be worked on Thursday morning and hopefullywill be done by the afternoon.

“We’ll get on it as soon as possible,” he said.

Currie led unofficial election totals with 523 votes, or 51percent, to Barnett’s 457, or 44 percent. She said she’d beenspeaking with officials in Copiah County to try to get them tospeed up the process.

“I’ve been contacting Copiah County and they say they’re goingto get to it soon,” she said.

Currie said the problem for her was just knowing what steps totake next. Either she needs to prepare for a runoff with Barnett onAug. 28, or she needs to prepare for the Nov. 6 general electionagainst D.W. Maxwell, who was unopposed for the Democraticnomination.

“Every day does count. We’re all just waiting right now until wefind out, and frankly unless there’s a good number of affidavitballots, I’ve won this election,” she said. “But I do need to knowthat for sure in order to move on. The waiting is terrible becausewe don’t know what to do next.”

Barnett said he feels the official totals are not only importantto the candidates, but to the public as well.

“I don’t envy their job,” he said of the elections officials.”But I’m concerned more for the voters than myself personally. Thevoting community deserves to know the outcome as soon as isfeasibly possible.”

Barnett said win or lose, he wanted to emphasize the importanceof every vote, and felt it was highlighted in the situation withthe affidavit ballots.

“I hope people will take away from this election the importanceof every single vote,” said Barnett.

He adding that the state’s primary system also made an impact onraces throughout the county and the state. Voters had to choose toparticipate in either the Republican or Democratic primaryTuesday.

“It’s time that someone takes a stand and represents the votingcommunity, because win or lose this needs to happen for thebetterment of Mississippi. We need an open primary,” Barnettsaid.