LEFLORE COUNTY — According the state Republican Party, Circuit Court Judge Jannie M. Lewis recently approved a consent decree “requiring Leflore County to comply with Mississippi election law regarding voter assistance, unauthorized loitering at precincts, poll watcher rights and ballot security.”
“Essentially, this court order requires Leflore County to follow Mississippi election laws. In the past, if they violated the law, we would have to get a judge to investigate and make a ruling and just like this, it would be months or years after the election before anything was settled. Now, if Leflore County violates these laws, we can ask the sheriff to enforce this court order while the election is still going on,” said Brad White, Mississippi Republican Party chairman.
The Mississippi Republican Party filed suit following the Nov. 2008 election, when Republican poll watchers and observers from the Secretary of State Office documented abuses including voter intimidation, the illegal directing of voters on whom to vote, the removal of ballots from the voting area and the improper restriction of lawful poll watchers. Individuals illegally loitering in the precinct were voting for or instructing voters on who to cast their vote, which included improperly influencing votes for Democrat and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove for the U.S. Senate.
The lawsuit asked the Court to issue a writ of mandamus to bind the defendants and their successors to properly execute their responsibilities in future elections because the misdeeds were “capable of repetition, yet evading review” in future elections. The consent decree settles the lawsuit without Leflore County admitting fault, yet agreeing to comply to the Republican demands.