Former acting Hinds County Sheriff Marshand Crisler requested to examine the ballot boxes in a hand-delivered letter to Hinds County Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Wallace, however, rejected the request in a letter on Thursday, December 16, because it “does not comply with the law”.
Crisler lost to Sheriff Tyree Jones in the second round of the special election for Hinds County Sheriff on November 23. Jones received 15,158 votes against 9,918 for Crisler.
In a phone interview with Jackson Free Press on Sunday, December 19, Crisler said he was not happy with the circuit clerk’s decision, saying he sought his advice before sending the letter.
“Circuit clerk Zack Wallace (who said) gave me a date for (I should) file my application by a certain date, which was given to me on December 15,” Crisler said. “After submitting it before the deadline, it was determined by the circuit clerk that he gave me the wrong date, which is obviously problematic for me.”
“At this point, I’m just weighing my options; (I’m) certainly not happy with the outcome,” he added. “I’m just weighing what my recourse is because I did what I was asked to do in good faith and thought the request should be honored.”
Crisler copied Sheriff Jones from the Dec. 15 letter to the circuit clerk. In response, Jones said the timeline under Mississippi law guiding the election box review on which Crisler based his request is overdue and asked the constituency clerk not to grant it.
“Depending on the language in MS Code 23-15-911 a candidate has twelve (12) days from the date of an electoral certification to proceed to an examination of the box and the opponent must receive correspondence reflecting this request from the requesting candidate within three (3) days ”, Jones wrote in a letter dated December 16. .
“The second round was certified on December 3, 2021. Based on the date of certification of the election and the date on which this request was served, the period of twelve (12) days to proceed with an examination of the ballot boxes had expired. the request on the 12th day of the process does not correspond to the three (3) day notice that should be given to the opposing candidate of the intention to take a box exam.
In denying Crisler’s claim, Wallace relied in part on the opinion of a Mississippi attorney general dated September 23, 2003.
Then-Attorney General Mike Moore explained that a candidate must complete the Election Box Exam within 12 days of voter certification.
On Sunday, Crisler told the Jackson Free Press that stories of missing media sticks and last minute scramble to deliver voting machines to constituencies raise questions about the validity of the election.
He said it is the right of candidates to examine the ballot boxes after an election to ensure its integrity and hold election officials to account.
“It was just a review of the box, which is a fundamental right of any candidate who decides to claim public office,” Crisler said. “It is a right to look at the box and make sure the information has been calculated and compiled correctly.”
“We had a lot of civil irregularities that accompanied this particular election,” he added. “So any time you see irregularities you want to make sure that none of them are compromising the process.”
However, District 1 Election Commissioner Kidada Brown told WLBT in a report on Dec. 15 that she was not aware of any irregularities and received no information about it from voters during the second round. “We followed all the procedures to close the elections,” she said.
Email advice to Kayode Crown Town / County reporter at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.