Ward 1 race contested; trial starts today

The Ward 1 Democratic Primary held on May 7, in which incumbent Ward 1 alderman Frank ‘Andre Shannon’ Jones was declared the winner, is officially being contested by his opponent, Jesse R. Larry and Larry’s attorney James D. Shannon of Hazlehurst.
Shannon has resigned his post as City Judge to pursue the case.
Shannon filed a complaint in Copiah County Circuit Clerk’s office on behalf of Larry on June 18 after requesting a judicial review with the Democratic Executive Committee over issues raised in the original petition.  The complaint says that the DEC  “failed to promptly meet” or to address the issues in the complaint within a reasonable time period, according Mississippi Codes.  The complaint represents one side of the lawsuit.
The petition for a hearing request was served on May 24 and 25 to DEC members Pat Moreland and Paulette Stewart, respectively.  After several attempts to reach committee member Arlene Harris, the complaint said she was notified by a letter dated June 5 and another on June 10.  Another committee member, Linda Maymon, was notified by letter on June 5, also.
Then Shannon attempted to notify all of the existing Hazlehurst Democratic Executive Committee members by June 10, pursuant to Mississippi Code.
Some of the charges brought in the complaint revolve around the process of the election and how votes were counted.  The complaint says that illegal votes were also counted, as voters were not marked properly in the poll book in Ward 1 and all voters were not signed in.  
The complaint also charges that ballots were mishandled some voters were given improper assistance while voting.  “Purposeful and fraudulent acts” were “committed to prevent supporters of the petitioner from voting”, it also says.
Shannon said his client is simply looking for justice.  “We believe that the May 7 Ward 1 Democratic Primary election was fraudulent, whether by accident or on purpose.  We are seeking that the Ward 1 results be thrown out and a new election held, based on the evidence we’ve collected,” Shannon said last week.
An opinion from the Attorney General’s office said that jurisdiction of the HDEC over the hearing is invalid because the general election of June 2 has passed.  A circuit court trial on the complaint will begin Monday, July 1 at 9:30 a.m. in Copiah County Circuit Court.  Judge Billy Joe Landrum of Laurel has been appointed to hear the case.
Alderman Jones is being represented by Dennis Horhn.
When asked to respond to the allegations, Aldermen elect Jones gave a standard response. “I don’t have any comments on the matter.”

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