Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Election Commission Circus returns

The candidacy of two candidates for Hinds County Election Commissioner in Wards 2 and 5 remained in limbo yesterday when the Hinds County Board of Supervisors took no action after an hour of discussion that was rather colorful and heated in nature. Bobbie Graves and Blonda Mack appealed to the board after they turned in their qualifying papers to the chancery clerk the day after the deadline. (The video below is quite entertaining. Earlier post).

The Mississippi Code states:

Candidates for county election commissioner shall qualify by filing with the clerk of the board of supervisors of their respective counties a petition personally signed by not less than fifty (50) qualified electors of the supervisors district in which they reside, requesting that they be a candidate, by 5:00 p.m. not later than the first Monday in June of the year in which the election occurs and unless the petition is filed within the required time, their names shall not be placed upon the ballot. All candidates shall declare in writing their party affiliation, if any, to the board of supervisors, and such party affiliation shall be shown on the official ballot.

The petition shall have attached thereto a certificate of the registrar showing the number of qualified electors on each petition, which shall be furnished by the registrar on request.
" Section 23-25-213 of the Mississippi Code

Board attorney Crystal Wise Martin told the board there were no Mississippi Supreme Court decisions that dealt with this issue. She said there were two circuit cases from Washington and Simpson counties involving similar situations where there was a "timely filing in the circuit clerk's office but an untimely filing within the chancery clerk's. In both opinions the circuit court said there should be a substantial compliance standard applied to this particular statute and not a mandatory compliance."* The candidates in those cases were placed on the ballot.

Ms. Martin said she had drafted a letter requesting an opinion from the Attorney General but would not submit it unless the board directed her to do so. Supervisor Phil Fisher said the Board delayed action two weeks ago because Ms. Martin said she would obtain an opinion. She said the statute was clear and interpreting it was "within the board's discretion." She told Mr. Fisher "it was within the board's discretion to decide whether to apply a substantial compliance standard to its interpretation of the statute." Mr. Fisher shot back "the statute specifically states a date and time" to which Ms. Martin agreed. However, she then replied "the board is within its power to interpret the statute." The Ward 4 Supervisor said if it was "ok to be one day late, why not five days or ten days or twenty days?" Ms. Martin said "this was a decision for the board to decide.

Ward 5 Supervisor Kenneth Stokes jumped in and moved to open up the qualifying deadline for "everyone." The motion later died for lack of a second. He said the "best thing to do and be a win-win for everybody was to open it up" for everyone. Supervisor Fisher said it was the candidate's responsibility to know the law. Mr. Stokes had Eneva Pittman address the board. She attempted to qualify but several of her signatures were rejected after it was found they either did not live in the district or were registered voters. Mr. Stokes again attempted to reopen qualifying so she could resubmit her entire petition and signatures (15:35).

Ms. Graves and her attorney addressed the board. Warren Martin told the board the constitution "trumps" the statute and cited Article VI, Section 157:

"SECTION 157. Exclusive jurisdiction of chancery court; transfer.

All causes that may be brought in the circuit court whereof the
chancery court has exclusive jurisdiction shall be transferred to the
chancery court

Mr. Martin said if the board did not place Ms. Graves on the ballot, there would be legal "implications". He said the constitution directed the circuit clerk to transfer Ms. Grave's petition to the chancery clerk and the board should place "little credence" on the statute.

Ward 4 Election Commissioner Cochran pointedly told the board (26:00) Ms. Graves "qualified four years ago" and she has had four years to learn the procedures. "The statute is so very clear, 5:00, June 4, and it specifically says the chancery clerk's office." "You are usurping the law if you allow this to go on." Mr. Stokes said the "only win-win in this was to open it up for everyone."

Supervisor Peggy Hobson-Calhoun moved for Graves, Pittman, and Mack to be placed on the ballot (35:00). Mr. Stokes seconded the motion. She said she included Ms. Pittman in her motion because she was not notified by the circuit clerk's office that her signatures were withdrawn. Mr. Fisher asked if the motion was putting on the ballot three people who did not meet the deadline. Ms. Hobson-Calhoun said they "submitted the information in a timely manner" but it was submitted to the "wrong office" and the information "should have been forwarded" to the chancery clerk. She told Mr. Fisher the law from the Mississippi constitution provided the justification for her motion.

Ms. Dunn told this correspondent her office does not forward petitions to the chancery clerk and has not done so since the law changed in. She said the AG's gave her a verbal opinion that the candidates were responsible submitting the petition to the chancery clerk.

Mr. Stokes again urged the board to open the qualifying "for everyone" so Ms. Pittman could get her fifty names. Ms. Hobson-Calhoun again defended Ms. Pittman, stating she was not notified some of her signatures were disqualified.

Supervisor Phil Fisher said "this whole idea of changing dates of when you can qualify is disgraceful. To vote on this today is a slap in the face of a system we should all respect... For anyone to see you can file after the fact says you can open every election to the same standard... Why even worry about the deadline. Just wait a couple of days, think it through a little bit more, and then go file."

The Ward 4 Supervisor then directed his comments towards the board attorney: "And it is setting these precedents because an attorney has an opinion of a Mississippi Constitution statute that has no place in this and I hope it is tested in court." Mr. Fisher then asked Warren Martin if he was related to anyone in the room. Mr. Stokes mockingly said "he's my cousin" as the rest of the room erupted in laughter and taunting from the black members of the audience. Supervisor Graham interrupted him at this point and asked him to keep his comments to the issue. Mr. Fisher ignored him and repeated the question. Mr. Graham again repeated his warning. Mr. Fisher said "It's Ms. Martin's brother in law". One black lady in the audience said "we all look alike to him." Um, yeah. Mr. Stokes defended the relationship and said just because they were related, there were no "shenanigans".

Supervisor Doug Anderson, whose wife is on the ballot for Ward 2 and would face Ms. Graves, made no comments during the discussion. The motion to certify the three candidates failed on a 4-1 vote. Mr. Fisher then moved to certify those that had qualified for the race but the motion failed. The board thus took no action regarding the placement of Graves and Mack on the ballot.

*It should be pointed out opinions from circuit and chancery courts in other counties are not binding upon Hinds County Courts as are opinions from the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals.


Shadowfax said...

This is what we have become? What would Arlo Guthrie say?

bob mc alister said...

catfight ? hardly , to me, anyway. Lack of judgement, ability to maintain order and follow established rules and regulations...
so , who is running and certified and who isnt? the ATTORNEY for the board will determine the vote?
an amended version of this on FastForward will make a comedy skit for youtube...
the Election Commission did not know where to file the paperwork ?

Shadowfax said...

Reminiscent of years ago when minorities first got themselves elected to public office and took over boards, commissions and other public bodies. They were given a pass back then since so few of them had ever been in situations demanding they conduct themselves in a civilized, orderly fashion and none of them had ever heard of Roberts' Rules of Order. However.........thirty years later? DAYUM!

Anonymous said...

I realize this is off topic, but, my question is: do you think the new JPS super is a member of the Nation of Islam? He certainly wears the uniform. Been wondering.

Kingfish said...

Judge Grant in Rankin wears the same damn bowtie. You going to accuse him of being Calypso Louie?

Anonymous said...

It appears the entire board of supervisors (except Fisher), the board attorney, and Election Commissioner Bobbie Graves have no concept of the legal system. Graves' lawyer Martin is quoting something from the State Constitution that has nothing to do with the price of eggs involved in this question.

In the first place, as to the argument that Board attorney Martin is trying to make - that filing in the Circuit Clerk's office is acceptable - there is nothing to indicate that these petitions were filed in the Circuit Clerk's office. They were SUBMITTED to the Circuit Clerk for verification of the signatures - but they were not "filed" with the Circuit Clerk. In order to be "filed" there has to be a date stamp and Clerk's signature, which there isn't. The only "filed" stamp is from the Chancery Clerk's office.

So Attorney Martin (both of you - you can discuss this over Sunday lunch) your attempt to avoid a clearly written state statute won't hold water. I realize that this doesn't matter to Supervisor Graham, Stokes and when he is cognizent Anderson, but in the end these individuals will not be allowed on the ballot. While the Hinds BOS can do whatever they want to do, if they attempt to put them on the ballot, the MS Supreme Court (following a ruling by Judge Green that nobody has any idea what may result from her court) will instruct the Hinds BOS that the law is the law - and it still applies even in Hinds County.

Besides - who wants to re-elect an Election Commissioner who either doesn't know the election law or chooses not to follow it? Shouldn't be a surprise, though, since Commissioner Graves has proven over the last 3 1/2 years that she both doesn't know anything about the law, and that she doesn't care anything about following it.

Anonymous said...

"Commissioner" Jermal Clark is an absolute idiot! And has proven it again here. To say that because 23-15-211 allows the Board of Supervisors to vacate an election commissioner's position if they don't get their training, that therefore the BOS can waive a filing deadline shows how he conducts himself in the commissioner position. There is nothing to connect 211 to 213 - they are two totally separate issues.

There is no interpretation in election law when the word "shall" is used - it is a mandatory requirement. Section 23-15 states so about election law and it has been upheld many times by Supreme Court. For BOS Attorney Martin to say that the BOS has "discretion" shows how idiotic she is as well. Once AG opinion is issued, would love to hear her try to make the same argument - thus why she has not asked for AG opinion since the last BOS meeting.

Anonymous said...

Have never met or seen a photo of the Judge. Show me a picture of Judge Grant and I might.

Armondeaux said...

Definition of CHAOS

obsolete : chasm, abyss
a often capitalized : a state of things in which chance is supreme; especially : the confused unorganized state of primordial matter before the creation of distinct forms — compare cosmos
b : the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system (as the atmosphere, boiling water, or the beating heart)
a : a state of utter confusion <the blackout caused chaos throughout the city
b : a confused mass or mixture <a chaos of television antennas
Hinds County Board of Supervisors

Anonymous said...

Bobby Graves, Ineva Pittman, and BlOnda Mack define the word " idiot"!!!!! They are all so stupid!

Anonymous said...

"Calypso Louie"

Too funny KF.

Anonymous said...

So I guess that means the law doesn't apply to these election commission candidates, but they are supposed to uphold it? and the BOS gets to rewrite the law?

Kingfish said...

You are learning.

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS