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Recount of mail-in ballots conducted in Jonesboro elections

Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Recount of mail-in ballots conducted in Jonesboro election

Photo by Renee Stringer
From left, Angie Roberts, Registrar of Voters in Jackson Parish; Laura Culpepper, Clerk of Court in Jackson Parish; Teresa Carroll and Sarah Lolley, members of the Jackson Parish Board of Election Supervisors, gather at the Clerk of Court’s office in Jonesboro.

JONESBORO—Town of Jonesboro mayoral and alderman-at-large election results were officially challenged by current mayor Leslie Thompson and alderman candidate Danettia Hayes, both filing petitions with Clerk of Court Laura Culpepper on Monday.

Complete but unofficial returns on election night showed James “Spike” Harris defeated the incumbent Thompson by 20 votes, 685 to 665. Nia Evans-Johnson defeated Hayes by a count of 657 to 634 for the alderman seat.

Tuesday, representatives from the Louisiana Secretary of State were on hand to oversee the recount of the mail-in ballots only.

According to the official recount, the results were as reported at the end of the election: Hayes carried the mail-in votes 58 to 54 in the alderman-at-large election, and Harris outpaced Thompson 77 to 41 on those ballots.

The recount was conducted by Culpepper, Registrar of Voters Angie Roberts, and Teresa Carroll and Sarah Lolley, members of the Jackson Parish Board of Election Supervisors.

Culpepper said Tuesday that she had no knowledge of any prior recount situations from 1985 to now.

Thompson said due to some questionable actions about votes as well as the serious nature of the results and the closeness of the total number of votes, that he “was trying to determine exactly what the results were in the final count.”

He said his next step is to contact the Louisiana Secretary of State to see what process is required to review the votes that were cast on voting machines to get closure.

“At this time I am not ready to concede this election,” Thompson said. “ I want to take it to the end, to make absolutely sure that every vote was counted properly. I would like to concede if, in the event, that we could say that this had been done properly.

“We just have questions, and after we contact the Secretary of State, we hope to have closure. We still have the right to file a lawsuit if the information merits that action, and we will move forward accordingly,” he added.

Thompson had additional questions beyond the vote count that were related to a possible malfunctioning voting machine as well as provisional ballots and rolls that may have been purged prior to the election.