Hinds Co. supervisor challenges opponent on residency requirements

District 4 Supervisor Vern Gavin
District 4 Supervisor Vern Gavin(WLBT)
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A second Hinds County supervisor is challenging his recent election loss.

District 4 Supervisor Vern Gavin has filed a petition with the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee to overturn the recent primary runoff results, saying in part that his opponent did not meet residency requirements.

“Mississippi election law is clear. These statutes and the case law provide guidance for Mississippi’s citizens as to how primary election[s] should be run,” he wrote. “In this case, there are significant irregularities in the conduct of the election itself, in the process of balloting, counting ballots, in post-election responsibilities, in actions... of poll workers, actions of poll watchers, and in actions... of the Executive committee members.”

Gavin was defeated for a second term in the Democratic Primary runoff by local radio station owner Wanda Evers. Evers won by more than 400 votes.

Gavin says Evers owns two properties, but files for homestead exemption on the one outside of his district.

Those properties include homes at 2908 Hemingway Cir., in Jackson, and 1624 Rosemont Dr., in Clinton. The homestead exemption is filed for the property in Jackson.

“Based on information and belief, due to the bias of the county executive committee, the committee failed to determine whether the respondent was a qualified elector of the district and whether the respondent met all qualifications to hold office in Supervisor District 4,” he wrote. “The respondent is presumptively disqualified under the law.”

Gavin alleges other irregularities as well, claiming Evers’ poll watchers were not certified per state statute, and were actively campaigned inside precincts.

The supervisor goes on to say that those same uncertified poll watchers told voters who to cast their ballots for, were standing over voters as they filled out their ballots, and were filling out ballots on behalf of some of them.

Gavin points to other irregularities as well, saying poll workers failed to provide voters with a sample ballot, resulting in some ballots not being completely filled out. Other ballots, meanwhile, were said to have been improperly filled out, with circles being checked, rather than filled in.

The supervisor is seeking a hearing from the executive committee and asking the previous election results be voided and a special election set.

3 on Your Side Investigative Reporter C.J. LeMaster contributed to this report.

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