THE FOLLOWING IS A STATEMENT FROM THE HATTIESBURG CITY COUNCIL REGARDING THE UPCOMING SPECIAL ELECTION
Judge Coleman has ordered a special election to determine who will serve as Mayor of Hattiesburg. The City Council appreciates and certainly will abide by this decision.
The prospect of a special election raises the issue of how best to conduct an election that will settle the matter of who will lead the City for the next four years and also guarantee our citizens that their votes will be collected and counted properly and that the election process is not tainted. It is our responsibility to offer that guarantee to the people of Hattiesburg.
For that reason, the City Council will contact the offices of the Governor and the Secretary of State today to request formally that measures be taken to ensure that this special election be carried out in a spirit of transparency, accuracy and integrity. In our opinion, the only way to regain the trust of City of Hattiesburg voters is to conduct the special election without the input or assistance of any City of Hattiesburg personnel or of any members of the most recent Election Commission; we believe also that any poll workers hired to help with this special election must undergo training far more rigorous than what has been offered to City of Hattiesburg poll workers in the past. In addition, we consider it appropriate to request that on the day of the special election, the Secretary of State assign monitors to each precinct to observe the voting and to ensure that all election processes are conducted according to the law.
The Council realizes that hiring outside assistance and training poll workers will add to the already high cost of an additional election. We have weighed the options and fear that the people of Hattiesburg ultimately will pay a far higher price if we do not insist on an election process that operates openly, efficiently and honestly.