When Hinds County supervisors met Tuesday afternoon to again try to decide if they’ll pay for the county’s Sept. 24 special primary elections, the person adamantly opposed to writing the check wasn’t around for a vote. District 5 Supervisor Kenneth Stokes, who Monday said the county can’t afford to pay about $67,000 for the primaries and questioned state law that requires it, didn’t return after lunch Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors’ budget hearings, which were to be interrupted at 4 p.m. so that the panel could take up the matter of the elections. He will get another chance to have his say when the board meets at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to delve back into the matter.
A divided board on Monday asked the attorney general’s office to rule on whether Hinds County must foot the election costs to fill the District 2 and District 4 supervisors’ seats now occupied by interim appointments. That action came after heated discussions and raised voices, with Hinds County Election Commission members and heads of both the county’s Democratic and Republican executive committees all telling the board that Mississippi Code 23-15-301 requires supervisors to pay for county elections, regardless of ability to pay or whether it’s budgeted.
Complicating the matter is the parties’ rare decision to hold primaries for a special election in the first place. That choice was driven by Democrats’ belief that all candidates should declare a party affiliation, and that independent candidates shouldn’t get a free ride into the general election.