US judge hears arguments in Mississippi House election spat

Left to Right: Mark Tullos, Bo Eaton
Left to Right: Mark Tullos, Bo Eaton

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – A federal judge hears arguments Friday over whether to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a 2015 Mississippi election that went to a drawing of straws.

Voters who filed suit are demanding that Democratic former Rep. Bo Eaton of Taylorsville be seated in place of Republican Rep. Mark Tullos of Raleigh.

The election in Smith and Jasper counties was certified a tie, and Eaton won a tiebreaker in a drawing of straws.

But, in January, the Republican-led House tossed five provisional ballots for Eaton.

Split mostly along party lines, the House voted 67-49 to declare Tullos the winner. That gave Republicans a three-fifths supermajority that allows them to pass tax and bond bills without help from Democrats.

Voters who filed suit say the House action broke the federal guarantee of equal protection.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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