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Kemper County ballot review incomplete

By Staff
RECOUNT Kemper County Sheriff Sam Tisdale, seated left, and Johnny Harpole, a candidate for the office, monitor a recount Friday of ballots cast in the Aug. 26 Democratic runoff. Assisting with the recount are Circuit Clerk Roma Allen, standing left, Louise Warren, Faye Nault, Mary Jane Nelson and June Watson. Complete but unofficial returns had shown Tisdale, who has served as sheriff of Kemper County since 1998, with a 45-vote margin. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Sept. 6, 2003
A review of ballots cast in Kemper County's Aug. 26 Democratic runoff for sheriff was not completed Friday and apparently will continue next week.
Challenger Johnny Harpole and his attorney, Bill Ready Jr. of Meridian, spent much of the day reviewing ballots at the Kemper County Courthouse while Kemper County Circuit Clerk Roma Allen and election officials looked on.
Harpole, behind incumbent Sheriff Samuel Tisdale by 45 votes in complete but unofficial returns, said the review was not completed.
Harpole referred all other questions to Ready, who could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Tisdale said he stayed at the courthouse until about 7 p.m. while the ballots were reviewed. He said he did not know when the review would be complete.
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.
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.