1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Harden
Senate Bill 2927
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO DELEGATE ITS DUTIES TO THE COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION FOR ONE YEAR; TO PROVIDE THAT THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MAY PROVIDE THE COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION WITH A PROPOSED LIST OF PERSONS TO SERVE AS POLL MANAGERS AT PRIMARY ELECTIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 23-15-931, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY THERETO; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. All duties of the county executive committee, including but not limited to ruling on candidate qualifications, preparation and printing of the primary election ballot, training of poll managers, preparation and distribution of ballot boxes, ruling on and counting of legal affidavit ballots, and certification of the primary election, may be delegated for one (1) calendar year to the county election commission, if a majority of the members of the county executive committee vote to approve the delegation of these duties and submit in writing a request for the delegation of these duties to the election commission, and if a majority of the election commission agrees in writing with the delegation of these duties not later than ten (10) calendar days before the deadline for assessments to be paid by candidates, as provided in Section 23-15-299. However, the delegating county executive committee may submit to the election commission a written proposed list of persons to serve as poll managers at the primary election, from which list the election commission shall choose a sufficient number of persons qualified to serve as poll managers in the primary election. However, if the list provided by the executive committee shall not contain a sufficient number of persons qualified to serve a poll managers, the election commission may make additional appointments of poll managers.
SECTION 2. Section 23-15-931, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
23-15-931. (1) When the day for the hearing has been set, the circuit clerk shall issue subpoenas for witnesses as in other litigated cases, and he shall also issue a summons to each of the five (5) election commissioners of the county, unless they waive summons, requiring them to attend said hearing, throughout which hearing the said commissioners shall sit with the judge or chancellor as advisors or assistants in the trial and determination of the facts, and as assistants in counts, calculations and inspections, and in seeing to it that ballots, papers, documents, books and the like are diligently secured against misplacement, alteration, concealment or loss both in the sessions and during recesses or adjournments; the judge or chancellor being, however, the controlling judge both of the facts and the law, and to have all the power in every respect of a chancellor in term time; and the tribunal shall be attended by the sheriff, and clerk, each with sufficient deputies, and by a court reporter. The special tribunal so constituted shall fully hear the contest or complaint de novo, and the original contestant before the party executive committee shall have the burden of proof and the burden of going forward with the evidence in the hearing before the special tribunal. The special tribunal, after the contest or complaint shall have been fully heard anew, shall make a finding dictated to the reporter covering all controverted material issues of fact, together with any dissents of any commissioner, and thereupon, the trial judge shall enter the judgment which the county executive committee should have entered, of which the election commissioners shall take judicial notice, or if the matter be one within the jurisdiction of the State Executive Committee, the judgment shall be certified and promptly forwarded to the Secretary of the State Executive Committee, and in the absence of an appeal, it shall be the duty of the State Executive Committee forthwith to reassemble and revise any decision theretofore made by it so as to conform to the judicial judgment aforesaid; provided that when the contest is upon a complaint filed with the State Executive Committee and the petition to the court avers that the wrong or irregularity is one which occurred wholly within the proceedings of the state committee, the petition to the court shall be filed in the circuit or chancery court of Hinds County and, after notice served, shall be promptly heard by the circuit judge or chancellor of that county, without the attendance of commissioners.
(2) If any county executive committee shall have delegated its authority to conduct primary elections to the county election commission in accordance with Section 1 of Senate Bill No. , 1998 Regular Session, then the presiding judge or chancellor shall not appoint any members of the county election commission to serve on the tribunal as described in subsection (1) of this section, or to serve as advisors or assistants to the judge or chancellor in the trial.
SECTION 3. The Attorney General of the State of Mississippi shall submit this act, immediately upon approval by the Governor, or upon approval by the Legislature subsequent to a veto, to the Attorney General of the United States or to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in accordance with the provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after the date it is effectuated under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as amended and extended.