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Kemper sheriff's candidate to review runoff ballots

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Sept. 5, 2003
The tedious process of reviewing ballots cast in Kemper County's Aug. 26 Democratic runoff for sheriff was scheduled to start today at the courthouse in DeKalb.
Johnny Harpole lost by 45 votes to incumbent Sheriff Samuel Tisdale in the runoff. Harpole will review the 23 precinct boxes today with the help of his attorney, Bill Ready Jr. of Meridian.
Ready said Thursday that his client is exercising his right to review the ballots because the vote was close and many absentee ballots were apparently cast.
Ready and Kemper County Circuit Clerk Roma Allen said they expect the process to last all day. The review will be conducted in the circuit clerk's office.
Ready said if the process is not finished today, it may be taken up again on Saturday or Monday but he said that would be up to Allen.
Allen said Sheriff Tisdale was notified of the scheduled box review so that he could also be present.
Attempts to reach both Harpole and Tisdale were unsuccessful Thursday.
In the event Harpole believes there is any problem with the vote tally, Ready said the matter would be brought to the attention of the Kemper County Democratic Executive Committee.
The Aug. 26 runoff results gave Tisdale 2,188 votes, or 51 percent, to Harpole's 2,143 votes, or 49 percent.
In the Aug. 5 Democratic primary, Tisdale received 1,663 votes, or 39 percent, to Harpole's 1,319 votes, or 31 percent. Two other Democrats received the remaining 30 percent, or 1,251 votes cast.
Tisdale has served as Kemper County sheriff since 1998. Harpole is a business owner and part-time deputy with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.
The winner of the Democratic primary runoff faces three independent candidates in the Nov. 4 general election Rusty Calvert, Ronnie Rankin and Glen Williams.
Aug. 5 primary:
Johnny Harpole 1,319 31%
Jerome Jackson 888 21%
Bill Jarvis 363 9%
Samuel Tisdale 1,663 39%
Aug. 26 runoff:
Johnny Harpole 2,143 49%
Samuel Tisdale 2,188 51%