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Hattiesburg mayoral update

Hattiesburg mayoral update

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The examination of Hattiesburg's general election ballot boxes is now complete, and the waiting game begins.

Representatives of Mayor Johnny DuPree completed their examination of the ballot boxes and absentee and affidavit ballots Wednesday. DuPree was certified the winner by 37 votes over councilman Dave Ware, whose representatives spent nearly a week examining the boxes for  irregularities.

The Ware campaign has not said whether any irregularities were uncovered, but observers say close attention was paid to absentee and affidavit ballots, including the 36 votes cast by inmates at the Forrest County jail. The Ware campaign has until Monday to file a challenge petition with circuit court.

According to state law, that petition must be specific as to what irregularities were found. If a challenge is filed, it's expected the State Supreme Court will have to appoint a special judge to hear the case.

Judge Bob Helfrich would probably recuse himself, since courthouse observers say it's standard procedure for sitting judges not to hear election disputes within their jurisdiction.