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Mississippi Supreme Court denies...

Mississippi Supreme Court denies MSGOP’s petition related to November General Election

By: Sarah Ulmer - February 23, 2024

  • The state Republican Party’s petition came after conflicting court decisions following a request to extend voting hours on the night of the November 2023 General Election over ballot shortages in Hinds County.

The Mississippi Supreme Court has denied the Mississippi Republican Party’s petition to do away with the Hinds County Chancery Court’s emergency order from the November 7, 2023, General Election.

“Although the Mississippi Republican Party was not a party to the chancery court action, it seeks this Court’s review of the chancery court’s order. The Mississippi Republican Party argues that, although the case is moot and although it was not a party, this Court should suspend the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure to allow it to appeal or issue a writ of prohibition or mandamus and dissolve the chancery court order,” states Justice Leslie D. King’s order.

Justice King went on to deny the Petition for Extraordinary Writ of Prohibition or Mandamus directed to the Chancery Court for the First Judicial District of Hinds County. Justices Josiah Coleman and Justice David Ishee were also on the panel.

The petition from the state Republican Party was filed weeks after the November election in response to an emergency order issued by Chancery Court Judge DeWayne Thomas who extended voting hours for several Hinds County voting precincts. The ruling said polls could remain open until 8:00 p.m. due to ballot shortages.

Judge Thomas’ ruling was quickly overturned by Special Appointed Supreme Court Judge Jess Dickinson, who determined that voters that were in line by 7:00 p.m. would be permitted to cast a ballot, and no more.

State law currently allows for anyone in line at a polling location when it is set to close can vote, even if that is after 7:00 p.m.

The decision by Judge Thomas came after the Mississippi Democratic Party filed a complaint regarding reports of ballot shortages in precincts, just one hour before the expected poll closure time of 7:00 p.m.

Because of the conflicting court decisions, the Mississippi Republican Party filed the petition to ensure similar confusion does not happen in future elections.

“Essentially, this doesn’t have any effect on the election, but it could have had an effect if there had been any election contests in Hinds County,” said Spencer Ritchie, counsel for the Mississippi Republican Party, at the time of filing. “The idea is that the party did not like the way the Chancery Court relief played out.”

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: