Voters head to the polls Tuesday to elect the Mayor and top community leader of Clarksdale, Friars Point and Lula.
Incumbent Mayor Chuck Espy, a Democrat and longtime politician, faces off against Independent candidate Cassandra Wilson, who is making her first bid for public office.
The polls open at 7 a.m. at the regular city voting locations and will be open until 7 p.m. Voters must bring voter ID to vote and are asked to contact their precinct baliff if they have any questions about their ballot of if they are voting at the right place.
City election clerks are reminding voters city election locations are different from where they voted in federal elections in November. Ward 1 votes at the Lee Drive Fire Station, Ward 2 votes at the City Auditorium downtown, Ward 3 votes at the Expo Center and Ward four votes at the National Guard Armory.
Anyone with questions about voting can call Clarksdale City Hall at 621-8136.
Clarksdale city will use count voting machines and a light turnout is expected. Your Clarksdale Press Register will have preliminary totals shortly after the polls close at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.
This spring’s Clarksdale Municipal Election will be conducted by the city. This year absentee and affidavit ballots will be counted up to five days after the election and the election will be certified at that time.
The Mayor of Clarksdale is paid $86,421 a year, plus expenses. Commissioners get $26,650 annually, plus expenses.
To run for a City of Clarksdale office, the candidate must be a qualified voter and not have been convicted of certain crimes or misdemeanors.
The towns of Friars Point will have one contested race Tuesday.
Friars Point mayor James Washington is running for reelection against former mayor Catherine Miller. Washington served from 1977 to 2001, 2005 to 2013 and again since 2017. Miller was mayor from 2013 to 2017.
Friars Point has five seats for alderman and six candidates.
Candidates Marva J. Sawyer, Ralph Scott and Vinetria E. Johnson are incumbents. Christie M. Bee, Shada Jakes and Charles Fair are the other three candidates.
The top five vote getters will earn seats on the city council.
Lula mayor Patricia Furdge is running for reelection against challenger Robert Monroe Sr.
The mayor and alderman races for the Jonestown City Council will both be contested with the general election set for June 8.
Incumbent mayor Vivian S. Burnett will be running against challenger Lavorn Burnett. Vivian S. Burnett took office in Sept. 2020 after going uncontested in a special election. Former mayor Kenny Lester pleaded guilty to an embezzlement charge.
Ten candidates will be running for the alderman positions with the top five vote getters earning spots on the council.
Incumbents Yvonne-Williams Brooks, Josephine B. Cosby, Brenda D. Green, Gregory Neely Sr. and Unta Wiley are all running for reelection. Gertrude Coleman, LaShasa S. Griffin, Terrance Holmes, Metisha Johnson and Renaldo M. Roberts are also running for seats on the city council.
LYON and COAHOMA
Lyon mayor Woody Sawyer and Coahoma mayor Robert Rockett ran unopposed in the March Democratic Primary. Aldermen also ran unopposed in Lyon and Coahoma.
Democratic mayoral challenger Scotty Meredith did not qualify to run in the March 30 Democratic primary after he was disqualified by the Clarksdale Democratic Executive Committee and a Coahoma County Circuit Court also ruled to that effect.
Meredith has appealed his case to the Mississippi Supreme Court and while lawyers for both side and filed briefs and motions, a court date has not been set.
State Supreme Court Justices could decide to hear verbal arguments in the case or simply review the formal case file and make a ruling.
The high court could uphold Meredith’s appeal and prompt another election in Clarksdale. The court could also set details for that election, specifically the timeline.
The court could also deny Meredith’s appeal and the winner of Tuesday’s election would naturally continue their role as Mayor of Clarksdale.
State law says anyone who seeks to influence the vote of any person by absentee ballot or offers anything of value for a vote, or destroys absentee ballots can be charged with voter fraud and upon conviction be fined not less than $500 and not more than $5,000 and be sentenced from one to five years in the state penitentiary, or both. The statute also includes those who offer to submit a ballot for something of value.
Questions or concerns about voting issues, policy and procedure for any election should be directed to the Secretary of State’s office at (601) 359-1350.
Questions or concerns about candidate qualifications, ethics and conduct while in office should be directed to the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Division at (601) 359-4258.
Qualifications vary from office to office but the main requirements to be a candidate for public office are to be a resident and qualified voter from the ward, district or county they plan to represent. Candidates may not have been convicted of a federal crime or certain Mississippi crimes defined as felonies punishable by incarceration in a state penitentiary, unless they have received a full pardon. They also may not be convicted of a crime in another state that is considered a felony under Mississippi law.
Candidates cannot have been legally declared mentally incompetent.
Candidates must fill out a statement of economic interest online within 15 days of qualifying with the Secretary of State and routinely throughout the year. The most recent campaign finance report deadline was June 1 for any contribution over $200. Failure to file these reports can result in fines and possible removal from office.
For additional voter information, visit yallvote.ms.