Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann should be commended for carrying out his duty as the chief elections officer in the state, even at the detriment of his own political party.
Republican state Senate candidate Todd Wade’s eligibility is indeed in question and should be thoroughly researched and deliberated before the Board of Election Commissioners, which includes Hosemann, Governor Barbour and Attorney General Hood.
It now seems that Barbour will miss today’s noon meeting, leaving Lt. Governor Phil Bryant to fill his seat on the Board. If this occurs as I’m being told, Bryant will be in an welcome situation given his role as President of the state Senate and his current campaign for Governor.
Should Wade’s qualifications remain in question and should there be a lack of evidence to prove his eligibility to hold the seat, the Board (whether it be Barbour or Bryant) must vote to remove him from the ballot.
The citizens of Senate District 9 deserve a candidate that meets the qualifications to hold the seat and one that has a track record of being involved in the electoral process. The Mississippi Constitution Article 4, Section 42 should be strictly followed and enforced by the Board. Barbour/Bryant and Hood should join Hosemann in ensuring the law is upheld, in practice and spirit, and make a determination based on law and not political expediency.
Further, not voting since his senior year in high school does not show commitment or concern on Wade’s part. This is troublesome and indeed unfortunate for the people in SD 9 and the conservatives who have worked to flip this seat.
While Republicans would love to unseat Democrat Sen. Gray Tollison, this is not the proper way. The rule of law outlined in the Mississippi Constitution must be upheld over political will.
*** UPDATE ***
The Board of Election Commissioners met today regarding this and other matters at hand. As I had heard, Governor Barbour was not in attendance, leaving Lt. Governor Phil Bryant to fill in along side Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood.
Sources tell me that Todd Wade’s attorney argued that since no one protested this matter, Wade should be allowed to stay on the ballot. His attorney also raised issue with not being notified of the Board meeting in writing, a notion Bryant squashed.
The Rankin County Circuit Clerk found no record of Wade’s supposed initial voter registration but noted that human error could have occurred.
It seems that Wade also did not properly complete the form to qualify for office and that he did not fill in that he was a qualified elector of any county.
Hood noted that the burden of proof was on the candidate and that Wade has not met that burden. Hood compared the issue to former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Luckett’s residency questions, stating that he was glad that the Board did not have to address Luckett’s eligibility.
Bryant then questioned Wade about his recollection of his high school civics class since he claims he registered to vote with his class. Wade says he filled the form out and sent it in.
The question was raised if Wade had been placed under oath. Wade’s attorney objected saying no other person had been placed under oath either.
After a debate over the Board’s rules and procedures, the Election Commissioners voted (2-1) to remove Wade from the ballot.
Hosemann and Hood based their votes to remove Wade from the ballot on the the rule of law, while Bryant said that he saw no evidence to prove or suggest that Wade was lying.
Sources tell me that Wade commented that he felt like he was a scapegoat for bad business in the Secretary of State’s office.