Longtime politician Chuck Espy won two boxes and newcomer Cassandra Wilson won two boxes, but -- as always -- it came down to the number of votes.
Incumbent Mayor Espy defeated Wilson 964 to 648 in Tuesday’s 2021 Municipal General Election, with 1,612 ballots cast in that race.
Steady rain Tuesday cut into the voter turnout with only 2,941 ballots cast. There were 10,532 voters on city rolls as of Tuesday for a mere 27.9-percent turnout in a race that never saw either candidate capitalize on a specific issue or concern in the city.
Espy won handily in his neighborhood around National Guard Armory voting precinct taking 343 votes to Wilson’s 93. Espy also won the Expo Center box with 210 ballots to Wilson’s 80.
Wilson showed strongest at the Lee Drive Fire Station with 247 votes to Espy’s 198. She garnered 223 ballots at the City Auditorium precinct to Espy’s 193.
Absentee ballots are in those totals and there are only 11 affidavits that must be approved by the Clarksdale Election Commission over five days. Those ballots will not change any races.
“Everything went real well considering we had some very bad thunderstorms move through the area,” said Sanford Johnson, Chairman of the Clarksdale Election Commission. “I want to thank the voters who came out and of course our poll workers who kept everything running smoothly.”
Polls closed at 7 p.m. the city’s first box, National Guard Armory precinct 4 came in at 7:40 p.m.
Clarksdale’s last box, Lee Drive precinct 1 came in at 8:10 p.m.
Election results by race, candidate, party, incumbent or not and vote total:
Chuck Espy (D) incumbent - 938.
Cassandra Wilson (I) - 643.
Clarksdale Commissioner's races were uncontested. Mayor’s race is that box only.
Bo Plunk (D) incumbent - 384.
Chuck Espy (D) incumbent - 204.
Cassandra Wilson (I) - 252
Ken Murphey (D) incumbent - 352.
Chuck Espy (D) incumbent - 201.
Cassandra Wilson (I) - 223.
Willie Turner (D) incumbent - 241.
Chuck Espy (D) incumbent - 216.
Cassandra Wilson (I) - 80.
Edward Seals (D) incumbent - 352.
Chuck Espy (D) incumbent - 343.
Cassandra Wilson (I) - 93.
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. If justices rule in Meredith’s favor they would probably mandate a new party primary and general election
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.