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Finch ends challenge over Election Commission

Election Commission candidate Karoline Finch said Tuesday she will not contest the results of that District 5 race.

Before beginning the review she sought after coming in 15 votes behind incumbent Gordon “Motor” Carr, Finch said she did not want to see the local election move into the courts like the presidential race.

“I feel like it is better to just put it behind us and move on,” Finch said.

After votes were tallied on election night two weeks ago, Carr had a 14-vote lead. When affidavit ballots were counted the next day, Finch pulled to within four votes, but the final tally put Carr ahead. Official returns two days later showed Carr with 2,024 and Finch with 2,009. Both are Republicans.

Finch took about two hours to visually inspect about 847 ballots from the Tingleville precinct. She opted not to review the remaining 3,186 ballots from that race.

“I was very satisfied with the ballots,” she said. “Except for the absentees.”

Finch said some of the absentee ballots appeared to have been signed across the flap before being sealed, leaving it open for the ballot to be inaccurate. Mississippi election laws require the envelopes to be sealed first and the voter to sign across the flap to prevent tampering.

Absentee ballots may be cast by registered voters who will be away from their county of residence on election day, who are 65 years of age or older or are physically disabled.

Finch said she would run for the District 5 Election Commission post again in four years.

“This was a learning process,” Finch said. “It was an opportunity that I could not pass up.”

Commissioners are paid $70 per day, but are limited to working no more than 65 days per year to maintain voter rolls and 35 more in years when there is a general election. That translates to a maximum of $7,000 per year.