Election commission vows fairness on June 5

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 17, 2001

Lurline Green, Election Commission chairman (The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[05/17/01] Members of the Vicksburg Election Commission assured candidates in the city races that the upcoming municipal elections will be administered fairly.

The commission that oversees Vicksburg elections invited the 10 candidates seeking public office to a meeting Wednesday to hear concerns from a spokesman for mayoral candidate Laurence Leyens. Commission chairman Lurline Green said that the five-member panel would be monitoring the city’s 11 polling places to ensure all voter laws and regulations are enforced for the June 5 general election.

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“This commission will do as much as it can to make it a smooth election,” Green said.

Vicksburg attorney Bobby Bailess appeared before the commission on behalf of Leyens and asked that some points of clarification be made before the election. Bailess did not give any specific examples of improper actions during the primary elections two weeks ago.

Leyens, an independent candidate for mayor, was not at the meeting.

“All I’m trying to do is to make sure everybody is sure everybody has a fair shake,” Bailess said.

Bailess asked the commission to clarify for all of the candidates where poll watchers should be allowed to position themselves at the precincts, who is allowed to be inside polling places and who is allowed to assist voters who ask for help voting.

North Ward Alderman Gertrude Young, who is seeking her third term, said that there had been some problems at the Kings Community Center during the primary election and that poll watchers and candidates needed to be better informed.

“There were two people there who were poll watchers for a candidate who never showed any papers,” Young said. “And they were interfering with the process.”

Eva Marie Ford, an independent candidate for mayor, and Sylvester Walker, an independent candidate for North Ward alderman, both said they had seen people at the Vicksburg Auditorium precinct trying to instruct voters to vote for particular candidates.

Green said that anyone with a complaint about the election should file an election complaint form through the City Clerk’s Office and assured the candidates that any problems would be investigated. She also asked that Bailess submit his questions to the commission and said that written clarification would be given to all of the candidates before the election.

Leyens, 37, and Ford, 63, will face incumbent Mayor Robert Walker, 57, who won the Democratic nomination in the primary election, and independent Joe Loviza, 61, in the general election.

Young, 45, who also won the Democratic nomination in primary voting, will face Walker, 40, for the North Ward seat.

In the South Ward, Republican primary winner, Sidney H. Beauman Jr., 52, and Democratic primary winner Pam Johnson, 35, will face independent candidates Vickie Bailey, 33, and Ashlea Mosley, 18.