Diamondhead faced with unusual election issues

The city of Diamondhead was all set for a special election on Tuesday. But, as John Fitzhugh explains, Hurricane Sally blew those plans away.
Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 6:08 PM CDT
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DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. (WLOX) - The City of Diamondhead was all set for a special election on Tuesday where two candidates qualified to replace former Mayor Tommy Schafer who died in July. But, Hurricane Sally blew those plans away and the city had to postpone their special election.

Now, the city’s problem is that there is almost no legal precedent for rescheduling an election on such short notice.

“There’s been no opinions and there’s been no laws or statutes to refer to in handling this matter,” said Diamondhead City Clerk Jeannie Klein. “So we’re basically in uncharted waters with this election.”

Klein had everything set for the election, this included voting machines borrowed from Hancock County, hand sanitizers and cotton swabs for voters to use on the electronic voting machines.

About 200 absentee ballots had already been cast in the election, but now those ballots are ‘under lock and key’ and most likely will not be counted because they are dated for the September 15 election.

The city has consulted with the Secretary of State’s Office, the State Attorney General and local counsel for advice on how to move forward.

The city council hoped to be able to schedule a new election date during an emergency meeting Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. and not have to start over from scratch.

“Our goal with the election being reset by the council tomorrow night is to make sure that all candidates are treated equally and all electors of the city get their opportunity to vote.” said Klein.

The two candidates running for the Diamondhead Mayor’s seat are Diamondhead Councilwoman Nancy Depreo and Attorney Richard Willis.

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