‘Nobody will be indicted’: Canton mayor says election results accepted by Miss. secretary of state
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - And just like that, it was over.
Five days after Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson said he would not accept the results of the city of Canton’s Democratic primary, the results have been accepted and the city and secretary of state are moving on.
At a news conference Thursday, Mayor William Truly announced that the secretary’s office had “certified” the April 6 results.
“There is nothing clandestine here or surreptitious here or secretive here,” he said. “We have honorable people running this election, who ran the primary. They will run the runoff and will run the general. Everybody’s votes will be counted and who gets the most votes will win.”
Days earlier, on April 16, Watson had contacted Democratic Executive Committee Chair Natwassie Truly saying he would not accept the results until they were signed off on by proper members of her committee.
Members in question included L.C. Slaughter and Don Cole. Both were named to the committee in early February during a meeting of qualified electors.
The secretary of state said that because an executive committee was in place, vacancies had to be filled by committee members.
On April 20, after receiving the secretary’s correspondence, the existing committee met to appoint Slaughter and Cole and others to fill vacant positions on the board, according to Assistant Sec. of State Kendra James.
“After that meeting, the official recapitulation report was resubmitted with the appropriate number of signatures,” she said.
Watson’s office accepted the results on April 21.
“There is only one committee - one Democratic committee as I speak to you today,” Truly said. “Historically ... back in February, you can argue there were two competing committees. [But] as I speak to you now, there is only one Democratic executive committee and they’re the ones that signed off [on the report].”
Other individuals signing off on the primary results included Laura Elaine Blair, Shoney Harris and Natwassie Truly.
Not signing the results were John Scanlan, treasurer Robert Estes, and Stephen Blackmon, all of whom were said to be members of the committee in February.
It was unclear whether those three were still on the committee. Mayor Truly would not say who all the members were.
“I’m not going to get into all of the history and differences and fights and how this emerged and how this was created,” he said. “I can say to you that the certified committee is the one who signed off ... That committee has satisfied the requirements as mandated and dictated by the secretary of state’s office.”
Meanwhile, the mayor said he wants people to know that their votes will count and worked to instill trust with the voting public.
“The point of the matter is, in this election, in the primary, there has been no fault,” he said. “Nobody will be indicted ... I don’t anticipate anybody being indicted.”
Multiple people, including several Canton city officials, were indicted following the 2017 municipal elections. In March, the Mississippi Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of one of those individuals, Courtney Rainey.
“We had a fair election and those citizens who voted voted for the individuals they want to be their leaders for the next four years.”
A runoff for Ward Four is slated for April 27. The general election is June 8.
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