Some of the results from Washington County’s general election held last month may not be official, just yet.
A petition to contest the Nov. 5 election was filed Nov. 25 in the Circuit Court of Washington County by Samuel Begley, attorney for Washington County District 4 Supervisor, Jesse Amos.
Amos is contesting the election of Democratic candidate Mala Brooks, to the office of Washington County Supervisor District 4.
“It’s in my attorney’s hands right now,” Amos said.
According to the election summary report, the total number of votes received from electronic voting machines was 2,297 with Brooks receiving 1,180 of those votes and Amos, 1,117.
According to the filed petition, another calculation was reached subsequent to election night, apparently based on absentee ballots — Amos, 75 and Brooks, 98.
It was reported by the Circuit Clerk’s office, 74 absentee ballots were issued for Ward 4-1(Elk’s Lodge), 92 for Ward 4-2 (Leland Health Department), and 55 for Ward 4-3 (Leland Rotary Club).
The petition goes on to state there was a record number of absentee ballots cast in relation to the election day vote. A great number of such absentee ballots were mailed to persons claiming disability or over 65 years of age.
The petition asserts that illegal absentee balloting is tied directly to Brooks, a matter which is being investigated by law enforcement authorities.
In addition, the petition alleges the “illegal activity” involves the respondent (Brooks), or persons working under the Respondent’s direction instructing voters to call the Circuit Clerk’s office to request absentee ballots be sent to them, and to claim to the Clerk that they were disabled and could not travel to the polls on election day, even though that was not true.
The petition also alleges those voters were told to contact Brooks or Brooks’ agent once the absentee ballots arrived in the mail and that she or another person would come to them to complete their ballots.
One person has told law enforcement authorities that Brooks and another person filled out her absentee ballot and the ballot of another voter, and that Brooks told her not to tell anyone about it according to the petition.
Illegal election activity, including vote solicitation, which was allegedly conducted by Barbara Brooks, the mother of Mala Brooks, inside the Leland Health Department polling place on election day is also listed on the petition.
Amos has not yet completed inspection of the ballot boxes, which he is entitled to do under Miss. Code Ann. 23-15-911, but has been improperly delayed by actions of Brooks, the petition claims.
Amos said he believes the ballot box inspection will cause him to find numerous illegalities regarding absentee ballots and the conduct of the election, and he expects to seasonably amend the petition accordingly.
Per the filed petition, Amos demands the following relief:
* Determine that he received the correct number of legal votes and, as consequence, issue a certificate thereof so that he shall be commissioned by the Governor for the office of District 4 County Supervisor, and in turn, qualify and enter upon the duties of his office.
* Alternatively, determine that significant number of illegal votes were received this election such that the will of the voters cannot be ascertained and thereby order a special election.
On Nov. 27, the Chief Justice for the Supreme Court of Mississippi who represents District 2 Place 3, Michael K. Randolph, signed off on an order appointing a special judge, the Honorable Isadore W. Patrick Jr., to preside over a petition for judicial review in the proceeding of Jesse Amos v. Mala Brooks.
Amos said despite the results, he has enjoyed serving the people of Washington County.
“I realize that all of us are stakeholders in Washington County and I have to lead everybody justly,” Amos said. “Anything I can do to assist the county, I will do it. Just because I may be leaving the board, doesn’t mean I’m leaving the county.”
Amos also added he hopes and prays the best for Washington County because he works to serve all the people of the county, not just some.
“I think we’ve done a good job,” Amos said of the Board of Supervisors. “I think I’ve helped to lead Washington County in the direction it needs go in financially and in infrastructural improvement along with seeking out jobs for the county.
“I believe I leave a legacy of honesty and great integrity. I’m a Christian and a minister and don’t believe in ill treating my fellow man,” he said.
Brooks and her attorney were contacted for comment, but calls were not returned by press time.