JASPER COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - The race for the West Jasper School Board District 5 seat was too close to call on Election Day and came down to affidavit ballots.
Wade Hosey led Hope Stringer James by three votes on election night. After counting every ballot, the Jasper County Circuit Clerk’s office named Hosey the winner Thursday morning, beating James by five votes.
Circuit Clerk Billy Rayner explains that affidavit, or provisional ballots, are filled out on Election Day and set aside to be checked over and counted later. Someone fills out an affidavit ballot if there is a question about their voter eligibility, they forget a photo ID or have an outstanding absentee ballot.
“No photo affidavit ballots, the voter has until five days from the election, which was Tuesday at 5 o’clock, to bring their ID in and we can count the ballots," Rayner said. "The absentee affidavit ballots, basically what that means is that voter had an absentee mailed to them, they went to the polls on Election Day and wanted to vote there instead. So they had to vote an absentee affidavit. So we had to wait a week to make sure that absentee didn’t come back to make sure that person didn’t vote twice.”
According to Mississippi law, affidavit ballots must stay sealed until they can be officially counted one week after election day. After the count, the circuit clerk’s office declared Hosey the winner of the school board seat.
“It was a very tight race, worthy opponent," Hosey said. "Been kind of impatient about waiting for the results, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.”
Hosey said he is excited to serve on the board focusing on “the future of kids in Jasper County, Jasper County School District, the proper education and training that they need for a bright future.”
James agreed it was a long campaign and thanked voters for coming out.
“I think everybody knows what an important position this is and I’m really glad they got out and voted,” James said.
She congratulated Hosey, calling him a close friend.
“He has my full support and prayers for the next six years,” James said.
James plans to stay involved with the schools in PTO and volunteer work.
Hosey will represent District 5 on the West Jasper School Board.