Ballot review under way in District 92 race

Published 5:00 am Friday, August 17, 2007

Candidates from both the Republican and Democratic sides of theticket gathered at the Copiah and Franklin County courthousesThursday to review ballots cast in the House District 92 race, andwill meet again on Friday in Lincoln County for the samereason.

While runner-up Paul Barnett called the ballot reviews a”fact-finding” mission, apparent GOP primary winner Becky Curriesaid she felt it was a waste of time and called openly forBarnett’s concession.

“The people of District 92 have spoken, the votes are in, and Iam asking Paul Barnett to concede this race so that the people ofDistrict 92 can move forward,” she said.

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Barnett said the review he is conducting is simply one of checksand balances to make sure everything adds up.

“Actually we’re just doing an examination, there’s not atabulation or any analysis of the data right now,” he said. “We’reevaluating all information that’s available. We’re looking to seehow many registered, how many signed the voter logs, and how manyvoted.”

In the Aug. 7 primary, Currie led the three-candidate ticketwith 523, or 50.8 percent, and Barnett got 457, or 44 percent. GeneBuckles was third with 49 votes.

The Republican primary winner will face Democrat D.W. Maxwell,who was also present for Thursday’s evaluations, in the Nov. 6general election.

Currie said the reviews in Copiah and Franklin counties had notaffected the outcome of the race. Paul Barnett’s father, incumbentDistrict 92 Rep. Dr. Jim Barnett, was standing in for his son atthe courthouse in Copiah County.

“We reviewed the votes in Copiah and Franklin counties yesterdayand the outcome of this election had not changed. To my surpriseDr. Jim Barnett asked to review both the Republican and theDemocrat ballots,” she said this morning. “Dr. Barnett insistedsomeone might have possibly written in his son’s name on theirballot, which would not have counted by law if they had.”

Paul Barnett said at this point he has not come to any solutionsor answers, but that his data included the Democratic ballotsbecause he wants to see the full picture before drawing anyconclusions.

“We’ll analyze all the data before we come to conclusions. Withthe margin being less than a percentage point, one vote here orthere could change the election,” he said. “We want to look at allthe data rather than just portions of the data.”

Barnett explained that there could be data missing, which is whyboth parties’ ballots could figure in.

“For instance, if you have 400 registered voters in a precinctand 300 signed the Democratic voter log, but you have 290 votes,but where did those other 10 votes go?” he explained. “What you’relooking for is in the likelihood that after you got in that line ifyou were given a card that was for the opposite party, we’d need toknow where the votes went.”

While Barnett said he will ask for a review of the Democraticballots in Lincoln County on Friday, Currie said she felt reviewingany more Democratic ballots was a waste of time.

“I objected about reviewing the Democratic ballots because theyhave no impact on outcome of the Republican election,” she said. “Ihave voiced my concerns to the voters of District 92 and I haveconfidence that the Lincoln County review of ballots will have nochange in the outcome of the election.”

Barnett said he will know more once the Lincoln County ballotshave all been reviewed.

“I’m working on a spreadsheet right now. I didn’t even compareit yesterday,” he said. “That analysis will come after today. Weknow today is the long day because it’s the county with the mostballots.”

Maxwell said he would be at the Lincoln County courthouse onFriday. He said while he’s not sure what Barnett is looking for, hedid not object to a review of the Democratic ballots.

“Well, it’s Mr. Barnett’s prerogative if he wants to review, andI’m fine with that,” he said. “Because of what the law is on thewrite-in votes, it still would not affect their race whatsoever. Itmay give them some fact-finding information, but really and trulyit’s not going to affect their race though, in the end result.”