May 21, 2013 10:35:27 AM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
For the second time in two weeks, Ward 2 residents are heading back to the polls to pick their next city representative.
Polls will remain open until 7 p.m. at the Starkville Sportsplex.
Ward 2 incumbent Sandra Sistrunk held a two-vote lead over her opponent, Lisa Wynn, but 17 affidavit ballots required processing after the May 7 primary. The Democratic election committee accepted only six of those due to various issues, including voters' failure to record residency changes outside of 30 days before the primary, missing names from the poll books and inaccurate information recorded on the documents.
The three-person Starkville Municipal Democratic Election Committee accepted five of those six affidavits with split 2-1 votes. Wynn collected four votes, while Sistrunk earned two.
The two candidates ended tied at 181 votes.
Documents filed with the city confirm Wynn is challenging at least one rejected affidavit ballot. The document in question was filed by an armed forces servicewoman who voted by affidavit because she was not listed in her ward's poll book. The voter was present during last week's affidavit processing session and told the Democratic election committee she received bad instructions from poll workers.
Chris Taylor, SMDEC member, was out of town until Monday when he first received the notice of the challenge. He said the Democratic committee has five days to act upon receipt of the notice, but since both candidates accepted the Secretary of State's opinion to hold another election, he was unsure of how -- if at all -- Wynn's challenge would affect the first ballot count.
Due to numerous issues that arose during the May 7 Democratic Primary, City Clerk Taylor Adams said all poll workers underwent retraining and new briefings on voting law. Copies of the law, he said after the second election was called, would remain at the voting precinct for this and the June 4 general election.
Adams' office opened its doors until noon Saturday for absentee voters. The city collected 15 of those ballots, Adams confirmed Sunday.
Follow @StarkDispatch on Twitter for live election updates tonight.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch