Ruling could be handed down as soon as Thursday in Archie’s election challenge

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:53 PM CDT
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HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - The fight over the legitimacy of the Hinds County Democratic primary made its way inside the courtroom Tuesday.

The hearing was a short one because District 2 Supervisor David Archie’s attorney wasn’t brought on until last night, so the judge granted his attorney’s request for more time.

Meanwhile, time is of the essence because the November election is just weeks away.

Much of Tuesday’s discussion revolved around subject matter jurisdiction, or in other words, whether the judge even has the authority to make a decision.

That all depends on whether or not Supervisor Archie’s complaint was filed on time.

Archie had 10 days from when the Hinds County Democratic Party certified the election to challenge the results. The party certified the election on August 18, meaning Archie’s deadline would have fallen on August 28.

Archie then had 10 days from that date to challenge the results with the circuit court, which fell on September 7. That’s the very same day the county was hit by a cyberattack.

Due to the attack, Archie filed his complaint one day past the deadline on September 8.

“We contend Mr. Archie waited a day too late to file this petition for judicial review in the circuit court,” argued Sam Begley, who represents one of the defendants in the case.

On the contrary, Archie’s attorney argues there are exceptions when the deadline falls on days when the courthouse is closed (holidays, weekends, or, in this case, a cyber-attack).

“We believe that the statute of limitations was extended by one day, and that is our position,” Matthew Wilson argued. “We contend that the court does have subject matter jurisdiction, and we’ll be able to proceed.”

Other motions discussed Tuesday revolved around dismissing Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace and Secretary Sandra McCall from the suit because no allegations were made against them in Archie’s complaint, according to their attorneys.

“The only person in an election contest should be the successful candidate, which was Mr. Smith,” Begley said. “It should really be Archie versus Smith and not Archie versus everybody else.”

Attorney Wilson said he was not prepared to answer questions about motions other than subject matter jurisdiction.

Court has been recessed until 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

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