A dozen people have tossed their hats into the ring during the first four days of qualifying for the 2021 municipal elections in Tallahatchie County, according to reports from clerks.
The qualifying window opened at 8 a.m. Monday and closes at 5 p.m. on Feb. 5.
Charleston Mayor Sedrick Smith Sr. became the first person in the county to jump in this year when he filed qualifying papers at 8:15 a.m. Monday, said City Clerk Ana Ealy. He qualified as a Democrat.
Smith, 48, of 309 Dorothy St., is seeking his second full, four-year term. Smith became mayor after winning a December 2013 special election and won reelection in 2017.
The incumbent mayor will have at least one familiar ballot buddy, as 2017 challenger Travis E. Taylor, 65, of 490 Lafayette St., qualified Monday as a Democrat to seek the mayor’s post.
Incumbent Ward 1 Charleston City Commissioner Gyrone Kenniel, 66, of 104 Gardner St., has qualified as a Democrat to pursue reelection.
Also running for Ward 1 commissioner is Democrat Dorothy Brown, 74, of 330 A St., who held that very seat for three terms before Kenniel won it away from her in 2017.
Incumbent Ward 2 Charleston City Commissioner Lloyd C. Smith, 66, of 291 N. Market St., has qualified as a Democrat to seek a second term.
Incumbent Ward 3 Charleston City Commissioner Tawanda Smith Shannon, 46, of 189 Mulberry St., qualified as a Democrat to pursue a second term.
Incumbent Ward 4 Charleston City Commissioner Sandy Frieson Smith, 41, of 432 E. Walnut St., is a Democratic candidate seeking a second term.
Sandy Smith will be challenged in the Ward 4 race by Jonathan Taylor, 42, of 363 S. Franklin St.
Incumbent Ward 5 Charleston City Commissioner Perry Herron, 59, of 230 N. Lafayette St., is seeking a fourth term on the governing body. He is a Democrat.
In Sumner, Town Clerk Toni Clark said incumbent Mayor Jackson Webb IV and three incumbent members of the five-member Sumner Board of Aldermen have qualified as Republicans for reelection. Webb, 44, of 605 N. Walnut St., is joined on the Sumner ballot by Alderman William W. Boggan, 41, of 208 Cassidy St.; Alderman Frank Mitchener Jr., 87, of 300 Cassidy St.; and Alderman Charles H. Robinette III, 39, of 290 Jennings St.
Glendora Mayor Johnny B. Thomas, whose town clerk was unavailable to answer the question definitively Tuesday afternoon, said he did not think anyone in Glendora had qualified for municipal office.
Municipal clerks Alma Harris in Tutwiler and Quartesha Kindle in Webb said they had received no qualifying papers as of Tuesday afternoon.
2021 is a major election year for the five municipalities of Tallahatchie County, as all elected government positions are up for grabs.
Anyone interested in seeking the offices of mayor or town alderman/city commissioner in Charleston, Glendora, Sumner, Tutwiler or Webb has roughly one month to file qualifying papers and pay any required qualifying fees at their respective municipal clerk’s office.
Primary election day for municipal offices is Tuesday, April 6. A primary runoff, if needed, would be April 27. The general election is scheduled for Tuesday, June 8.
Those elected in June will begin a new four-year term on July 1.
To seek municipal office as a party candidate, such as Democrat or Republican, a person must submit to the municipal clerk’s office, a “Qualifying Statement of Intent for a Candidate for Party Nomination” and pay a filing fee of $10.
Independent candidates — those who run without party affiliation — do not have to pay a filing fee, but they must file a “Qualifying Statement of Intent for an Independent Candidate” as well as a petition form bearing the signatures of a prescribed number of registered voters. That number varies based on the office sought and the municipality’s population.
In Charleston, Tutwiler and any other municipalities in Mississippi having a population of 1,000 residents or more, independent candidates for the office of mayor must submit a petition with the signatures of at least 50 qualified electors of the city or town.
Independent candidates for mayor of Glendora, Sumner and Webb, or any other municipality with a population of less than 1,000, must present a petition with the signatures of at least 15 registered voters of the town.
Candidates for alderman or commissioner on any municipal board in Tallahatchie County must submit a petition with the signatures of at least 15 qualified voters living within their respective ward. In the case of Sumner, those 15 registered voters may live anywhere in town, since the municipality elects aldermen on an at-large basis.
Qualifying statements and properly formatted candidate petition forms are available at municipal clerk offices. COVID-19 protocols remain in effect. Wear a face covering.
These forms, as well as publications such as the “2021 Elections Calendar” and the “2021 Candidate Qualifying Guide,” may be referenced or downloaded at the website of the Mississippi secretary of state, at https://www.sos.ms.gov/Elections-Voting.
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Candidates for municipal office must meet the following criteria, according to the secretary of state’s office:
• Must be a qualified elector of the state of Mississippi and of the municipality/ward of the office for which the candidate seeks election
• Must be a resident of the municipality that he/she seeks to represent for two years immediately preceding the day of the election (in Charleston and Tutwiler); however, this requirement does not apply to municipalities with less than 1,000 residents (as in Glendora, Sumner and Webb)
• Must never have been convicted of bribery, perjury or other infamous crime, being defined as a crime punishable by a minimum of one year confinement in the state penitentiary, unless pardoned for the offense
• Must never have been convicted of a felony in a court of this state or, of a felony in a federal court, or of a crime in the court of another state which is a felony under the laws of this state, on or after Dec. 8, 1992; excluding, however, a conviction of manslaughter or a violation of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code or any violation of the tax laws of this state, unless the offense also involved the misuse or abuse of an office or money coming into a candidate’s hands by virtue of an office
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» Appearing on this year’s general election ballot for some voters in Tallahatchie County will be the following two school board positions:
» Education District 1, a seat on the West Tallahatchie School District Board of Trustees presently held by Lucinda Berryhill
» Education District 6, a slot on the East Tallahatchie School District Board of Trustees occupied by Lincoln “Buddy” Smith.
Candidate qualifying for school board positions does not begin until Aug. 4, and the qualifying deadline is Sept. 3.
School board races will not appear on ballots until the Nov. 2 general election.
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For more about the 2021 elections, visit https://www.sos.ms.gov/Elections-Voting, contact the secretary of state’s office by phone at 800-829-6786 or drop an email to email@example.com.
Municipal clerk offices in Tallahatchie County may be contacted at:
• Charleston City Hall, 647-5841
• Glendora Town Hall, 662-757-0032
• Sumner Town Hall, 375-8773
• Tutwiler City Hall, 345-8321
• Webb Town Hall, 375-8164