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No runoff for District Five Supervisor race

From time to time, Mississippi elections create a set of unique circumstances. One that comes to mind is the 1999 gubernatorial election in which the Mississippi House of Representatives had to choose between Ronnie Musgrove and Mike Parker, neither of whom won a majority of the vote statewide. There were two other candidates on the general election ballot. The House elected Musgrove when it convened in January. But the outcome hung in the balance from early November until the first week of January and the transition that usually takes place between administrations had to wait for two months. Last week in Copiah County, was one of those times at the county level. Tuesday night, District Five Supervisor candidates Judson Jackson and Dwayne Thompson left the courthouse thinking they would be competing in a runoff election in a few weeks. Neither candidate won a majority of the votes cast in the race. According to the unofficial returns Tuesday night, Jackson, an independent candidate, received 957 votes, or 48.38 percent of the total votes cast. Thompson, the Democratic nominee received 684 votes, or 34.58 percent of the total votes cast. A third candidate, Darren “Big D” Powell, also an independent candidate, received 334 votes, or 16.89 percent of the vote. The vote totals on election night did not include absentee or affidavit ballots, but there were not enough of them to change the outcome of the race. But, according to state law governing general elections, if there are more than two people on the ballot for a given race, in this case for supervisor, and one of them does not receive a majority, the candidate with the most votes wins. In case of a tie, a coin is flipped. Because the details of that law are seldom needed, officials at the courthouse assumed there would have to be a runoff. Party primaries have runoffs and that is where most of Mississippi’s voting decisions are made. After details of the law were pointed out, the election went from a runoff, to Jackson winning it outright with a plurality, or highest number of votes cast. None of the other races in the county were nearly as tight this year and there was no room for confusion or to question outcomes in those races. According to Copiah County Circuit Clerk Edna Stevens, the election results will be certified by county election commissioners and become official, later this week.


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