Wooten Beats Reeves by 21 Votes

Published: Dec. 19, 2007 at 3:04 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2008 at 2:06 PM CST
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by Roslyn Anderson

Turnout was low Tuesday as fewer than 600 voters went to the polls in a special election for House District 71.

The unconfirmed results give incumbent Republican John Reeves 278 votes to Democratic challenger Adrienne Wooten's 299.

The hotly-contested race was again plagued by confusion at the polls. Many voters in the four split precincts complained of being turned away or being told that their affidavit ballots would not be counted.

Hinds County Election Commissioner Connie Cochran said most voters came to the polls thinking they were to cast a ballots but were not in the correct district. She said they were allowed to vote by affidavit ballot; those votes would later be verified at the courthouse.

Reeves told WLBT Tuesday afternoon that Wooten's supporters intimidated his supporters at the polls. The 24-year legislator said Wooten's camp intimidated white residents who voted for him and threatened and berated black voters who supported him.

We were unable to reach Reeves Tuesday night for comment on the vote.

Wooten waited for results at the Hinds County courthouse after polls closed. The Jackson attorney denied the allegations and said Reeves' claims were made because it is apparent he was losing the race.

"You lost because the voters in District 71 no longer want your leadership," she said. "That's what he needs to be considering at this point -- not these unfounded allegations he sits behind and tries to come up with to get sympathy from voters out there."

The four precincts involved in the re-vote were 72A (Baker Elementary School), 92B (Oak Forest Elementary School), 93B (Victory A.M.E. Church) and 96A (Lakeshore Baptist Church).

"There haven't been any problems reported," Cochran said. "The only thing that has been a problem are people who have gone to vote who don't live in that district."

Prior to the revote, Wooten led Reeves 1081 votes to 933.

The Mississippi House of Representatives will still be required to vote on a winner after the results have been certified by the Hinds County Election Commission.