Votes certified in Hazlehurst after empty ballot box questioned

HAZLEHURST, Miss. (WJTV) –Ward 2 election in Hazlehurst has been certified after an empty ballot box was called into question.

It turns out the box had no effect on the results, and now the official totals are in.

Candidate Ron Sims, the Ward 2 Alderman, now serving his third term after winning Tuesday’s election by just four votes when everything was counted at first he was only up by one vote.

This close race was why he wanted officials to take a closer look at an unsealed ballot box.

“They decided to not use that ballot box, but they had broken the seal on it,” said Kenneth Thrasher, secretary for the Hazlehurst Municipal Democratic Executive Committee.

A broken seal on what turned out to be an empty ballot box was enough to raise concern for candidates in Tuesday’s Hazlehurst primary election.

“The seal was broken, because they are supposed to be broken going out, because it was unused they just didn’t replace the seal a new seal, which is accounted for on that empty ballot box,” said Thrasher.

Officials say that box for the Ward 2 Alderman race was locked, but on two other boxes, the slots were not tape sealed when the polls closed.

“Just because the tape was not on it in transfer as long as everything was accounted for and it was. the boxes were not breached,” Thrasher said.

He says while the poll managers were highly trained he believes the close race played a factor in the controversy. At one point, Ward 2 Alderman Ron Sims was winning by only one vote.

“After the executive committee got together, I actually received four more votes, so I ended up winning 100-96.”
Sims says the city clerk noticed the box and told officials.

“I don’t know what was stated to her, but I do know that I am pleased with how my results ended up where I am victorious and will serve this city for another four years,” he said.

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