Drew gets new mayoral election
by Paisley Boston
Mar 05, 2014 | 1364 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Drew's mayoral position is still "up in the air."

Harvey Burchfield allegedly beat former Mayor Jeffery Kilpatrick in a mayoral election in June.

Kilpatrick protested the election results just two days after the vote and he has taken the necessary steps with the Drew Election Commission and Mississippi Secretary of State's office.

According to Kilpatrick, he and Burchfield went to court in November – attorneys for both parties were allowed to open the ballot box and make copies of the contents.

On Monday, Special Circuit Judge Samac Richardson ruled in favor of Kilpatrick and has granted his request for a special election.

"I don’t know when the election will be held but I think it will be sometime in the next two weeks," said Kilpatrick.

"My attorney called me on yesterday to give me the verdict. I think that I am going to win because I serve a mighty good God and the people in the community are going to be more supportive during this election," he added.

The original mayoral election for Drew was held June 4, 2013.

Three candidates qualified for the office, Harvey Burchfield, Jeffrey Kilpatrick and John Thigpen.

In the June election, Burchfield received 18 more votes than Kilpatrick.

"When I first learned the results, I went to shake his hand and say congratulations. I started clearing things out of my office," said Kilpatrick in a previous interview.

"But then I learned that three people filed charges against him for bribery and it's actually going to be four people. He paid people to get their votes," he added.

The court conducted an inspection of all election materials, including ballots and poll books, in the presence of parties, their attorneys, the city clerk and the circuit clerk.

During the trial, Kilpatrick presented two witnesses, City Clerk Patricia Johnson and Circuit Clerk Sharon McFadden. Burchfield did not present witnesses.

The court allowed into evidence several items for documentary evidence.

There were a total of 55 affidavit ballots voted in the election; 12 of the voters were not registered to vote anywhere in the county; seven ballots were not registered to vote in Drew; five voters had been purged from the voter rolls; one person registered to vote on the day of the election; one ballot was not properly signed by the voter as required by law; one person voted in two precincts and five persons voted in the wrong precinct.

All affidavit ballots were counted in the final vote tally as certified by the election commissioners.

According to Richardson, 31 votes were illegally cast and all of the votes should be thrown out.

It was the opinion of the court that because of the multiple irregularities, election code violations and the number of illegal votes counted, the will of the voters is in question and is impossible to discern; therefore, a special election is required.

Burchfield did not comment on the matter.