Two organizations have dropped their challenges over Hinds County running out of ballots on election day.
Numerous Hinds County voting precincts ran out of ballots during Mississippi’s statewide election on Nov. 7, leaving some voters waiting in line for hours and causing others to give up and go home.
As ballots ran short, two groups filed separate lawsuits to try to give people more time to vote on election night. One was filed by the nonpartisan Mississippi Votes. The other was filed by the Mississippi Democratic Party.
In the Democratic Party’s lawsuit, a chancery judge ordered all Hinds County polling places to remain open an extra hour, until 8 p.m. The state Republican Party filed an emergency appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court and asked the state’s highest court to overturn the order.
But the state Supreme Court did not rule on the GOP’s motion before the Democratic Party on Nov. 8 filed a motion to dismiss the case.
In the Mississippi Votes lawsuit, a special judge appointed by the state Supreme Court’s chief justice said specific precincts, could remain open until every voter in line at 7 p.m. had a chance to cast a ballot. But this is what state law already requires at precincts.
Mississippi Votes appealed this ruling to the Mississippi Supreme Court. But the organization on Nov. 13 filed a motion to dismiss its appeal, which Presiding Justice Jim Kitchens granted that same day.
The respective dismissals essentially end all pending lawsuits related to the Hinds County ballot shortages. However, individual candidates could bring their own election challenges over the results and petition courts for relief over the ballot issues.
The Election Day issues in the state’s most populous county is highly unlikely to impact statewide elections such as the governor’s race where Republican Gov. Tate Reeves defeated Democratic challenger Brandon Presley.
But it could make a difference in other elections such as the Central District Public Service Commission race, which remained neck-and-neck with the DeKeither Stamps, the Democratic nominee, having a slight lead over Brent Bailey, the Republican incumbent.
State law requires counties certify election results by Friday, Nov. 17.