Former state Sen. Melanie Sojourner testified Wednesday it was a “great concern” to her that Adams County officials stored absentee ballots and other records in cardboard boxes after the November election. She also argued that her loss in that election should be overturned because she believes poll workers improperly assisted some voters at the Bude precinct in Franklin County. Sojourner testified on the opening day of a hearing being held by a five-member Senate committee that’s considering her complaints about the District 37 race in Adams, Amite, Franklin and Pike counties.
Certified results show Sojourner lost by 64 votes to Democratic former Sen. Bob Dearing — the same candidate she unseated in 2011. Both are from Natchez. Dearing has not yet testified, but he has said in interviews that he won fairly.
Adams County Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker testified Wednesday that election materials were secure in cardboard boxes that were sealed and stored in a locked office. He said Sojourner and others with her campaign were allowed to examine the boxes.
Testimony continues Thursday, and the committee eventually will make a recommendation to the full Senate about whether to uphold or overturn the election results. Dearing has already served 32 years and would return as one of the most senior members of the 52-person Senate if he prevails.