September 26, 2013 9:23:54 AM
HATTIESBURG -- Ballot counting will stretch into a third day for Hattiesburg's second mayoral election this year.
The special election was Tuesday, and officials spent hours Wednesday counting and examining absentee ballots. They stopped just before 5 p.m. Wednesday and are scheduled to start again about 9 a.m. Thursday.
Independent Dave Ware had a 32-vote lead over three-term Democratic incumbent Johnny DuPree when officials started counting absentee ballots Wednesday. The race will remain undecided until 1,055 absentee ballots are counted.
WDAM-TV reported that boxes from five of the 14 precincts were set aside for further review because of unmarked ballots. The boxes require review by the attorney general.
DuPree won the June 4 regular election by 37 votes, but Ware filed a lawsuit saying ballots were not handled properly. Judge William Coleman, appointed to the case by the Mississippi Supreme Court, ordered Tuesday's special election.
Ware is a former member of the city council.
DuPree made history in 2011 by becoming the first black candidate to win a major party's nomination for governor in Mississippi. In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, he defeated Bill Luckett, a Clarksdale attorney.