By Bob Pittman
The election of supervisors in Wilkinson County is still undecided… two years later.
The issue, to no one’s surprise, revolves around absentee voting. Seems a white incumbent supervisor and his black challenger tied in the 2003 Democrat primary. In a second party primary, the incumbent was declared the winner with an 11-vote margin, 510-499. The challenger, Hollins, petitioned for judicial review in the Wilkinson County Circuit Court and the winner, Smith, cross-claimed, alleging fraud.
The Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a special tribunal and the judge, from Hinds County, found for the challenger, declaring him the winner with a recount that gave him a three-vote margin, 519-516. Hollins was unopposed in the November 2003 General Election and was declared the winner with 389 votes.
Smith appealed the decision by the special tribunal to the state Supreme Court, asking that he be allowed to remain in office until the high court made a decision. His request was denied and Hollins was administered the oath of office in January of 2004. He continues to hold the position.
Smith renewed his appeal to the Supreme Court and in June of 2005 the Court found that the incumbent had, in fact, won the Democrat nomination by a vote of 514-513. At the same time, the Court ordered a new election, as
the law requires.
Hollins, who has been found by the Supreme Court to be holding the office illegally, continues to serve.