If you reside in Ward 4 in Coldwater, be prepared to head back to the voting booth in March.
Levon Wayne Hayes, who lost to Alice Mae Thomas by 15 votes in the general election last June, contested those balloting results. A court order from the Tate County Circuit Clerk’s Office signed by attorneys representing Hayes and Thomas stated several factors for the special election set for Tuesday, March 8.
The document said after discovery, material facts exist regarding the validity of the total number of votes that were cast Tuesday, June 8, in the 2021 Coldwater general election for the Ward 4 Alderman seat, the integrity of the ballot box and the box containing absentee ballots, and the commingling of affidavit, absentee, and curbside ballots by election officials.
The court order stated the extent of those factors led to the impossibility to reconcile true and accurate results of the election between the two parties.
The document claims election officials failed to comply with Mississippi law by securing the ballot box and combination box containing absentee ballots with an unbroken seal. Election officials also failed to accurately count and record vote totals and attest to the veracity of the ballot results when the ballots were counted in accordance with Mississippi law, the document stated.
The court order said due to the negligence of election officials during the 2021 Coldwater general election, both Hayes and Thomas agreed to a special election that will take place within 90 days of when the order was issued Dec. 14.
Employees and representatives from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office will oversee the special election to ensure the integrity and accuracy of results, according to the court order.
No candidates besides Hayes and Thomas, other than a place for voters to write-in an alternate selection, will be on the ballot.
Thomas has represented Ward 4 in Coldwater since winning the seat in June general election. She is one of five new faces on the town’s Board of Aldermen after four incumbents chose not to seek re-election. The other incumbent lost in the April primary.
Glenn Billingsley claimed his current spot as mayor in that election by knocking off incumbent Jessie Edwards by a final tally of 335 to 290.