On Monday, the Clay County Democratic Party Executive Committee will know for certain which candidates hoping to run for office in Clay County will be placed on the ballot.
Pat Cannon, chair of the DPEC, said almost everyone is “OK,” but still needs information from a couple of candidate, including Harold Lathon, who qualified to run for chancery clerk.
Cannon said the DPEC will meet Monday at 10 a.m. in the Clay County courthouse and is hoping that Lathon will be present so that the committee can make the final decision on whether or not he can run for chancery clerk. On top of verifying that Lathon is a registered voter in Clay County and that he has not been convicted of a felony, the committee must also verify that he is a resident of the county. Lathon expressed several months ago that he resides both in Jackson and West Point, so the party will have to make a determination considering that information.
On Friday, the Republican Party Executive Committee did not meet but are expected to meet early in the week. Republican candidates are Becky Coe, who qualified for tax collector/assessor, Paxton Austin, who qualified for supervisor, District 3 and Chad McComic, who qualified for supervisor, District 4.
The Clay County Election Commission is expected to certify candidates Monday. After candidates are certified, their names will be sent to the Office of the Secretary of State.
Questions about the rules for running in a county elections that are not covered by Mississippi election codes are usually taken up in the Opinions and Local Government Division of the Mississippi Attorney General's Office, where legal opinions are given in order for election agencies and other government agencies to make decisions. Jesse Ivy qualified Tuesday for Clay County sheriff using only his last name. According to Mississippi House Majority Leader Tyrone Ellis, a candidate must use his or her full name when running as a candidate for county office.
In a March 23, 2007 opinion by the Attorney General's Office, it states that “While the election statutes are silent with regard to the appearance of nicknames on the ballot, we are of the opinion that they should not be used unless the officials in charge of the election determine, consistent with the facts, that the appearance of the nickname on the ballot is necessary in order to identify the candidate to the voters.”
In this case, it would not be necessary for Jesse Ivy to use just his last name for identification purposes since the only other person running in the races whose last name is Ivy is Sherman Ivy, who is running for constable, district 1. Since Sherman Ivy and Jesse Ivy have different first names, they can be easily identified on the ballot without one of them having to use just his last name.
The above legal opinion was referred to from Jan Schaefer, Office of the Attorney General public information officer, and Pamela Weaver, director of communications for the Office of the Secretary of State. This is the only opinion that closely relates to name usage when running in county elections.
Regarding Ivy's attempt to run for two different county offices,sheriff and supervisor, district 5, Mississippi Election Code 23-15-905 states it is prohibited to qualify as a candidate for more than one office if the elections for both offices are held on the same day. The code states that “if a person takes the steps necessary to qualify for more than one office, the appropriate executive committee or election commissioner shall determine the last office for which the person qualified and the person shall be considered to be qualified as a candidate for that office ONLY and the person shall be notified of this determination.”