Waltman declared winner as Clemons loses at-large election challenge

Waltman declared winner as Clemons loses at-large election challenge


James Waltman has been declared the winner in the June 8 alderman-at-large election that incumbent Leroy Clemons challenged.

Waltman was certified the winner by the Election Commission by one vote, 670-669, in June and Clemons, the incumbent, challenged the results.

Clemons claimed there were widespread irregularities in the election and a lack of security with the ballot boxes. Clemons also questioned the process of how affidavit ballots were considered and disqualified.

The matter had been scheduled for Jan. 31 in Circuit Court. However, Judge Larry Roberts reset the trial for June 20 and heard pre-trial motions today, May 6, and granted Waltman’s motion for summary judgment.

The case was originally set to be held in October 2021 but had to be postponed because one of the witnesses tested positive for COVID-19.

Judge Roberts' hearing was at 2 p.m. today in Philadelphia.

The case was set as a jury trial. Attorneys for  Waltman, a Republican, had said in January they planned to file a separate motion for summary judgment.

They would have had to show there is no dispute about any material facts and that judgment will be made as a matter of law.

Clemons, a Democrat, among other things, claims the tapes of the voting results from the optical mark reading equipment were not present in the ballot boxes for Ward 1, 2 and 3 when he and his representatives examined the ballot boxes.

Clemons was asking the court to determine the true final vote. If that is not possible, he was asking for the election to be thrown out and that a new election be held.

Attempts to reach Clemons for this story were unsuccessful.

Judge Roberts of Meridian, a retired Court of Appeals Judge, was appointed by Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph on Aug. 4 to assist the 8th Circuit Court of Leake, Neshoba, Newton and Scott counties in handling the backlog of cases that have resulted from delays caused by COVID-19.

Circuit Judge Mark Duncan requested the appointment of a temporary special judge to assist the two-judge district.

See next week's Democrat for more details.

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