Certified by Cora
The Election Commission of Lumberton will certify the special election results today and officially declare Kent Crider the winner of an election process that was tainted from day one. Cora Rogers, who played an integral role in this election when she declared that 7 of the 12 affidavit voters did not live in the City of Lumberton, unofficially declared Crider the winner at the board meeting on Tuesday. As she made the announcement, Crider sat next to her with his head bowed and managed to squeak out a correction that he would be sworn in on Friday, January 8, 2015 at 1:00 p.m. at city hall. Maybe it was just me but I would think that being elected as the next Mayor of Lumberton would have garnered a more boisterous response.
Prior to this election, I was a believer of that every vote counts. Well, those responsible for the integrity of the election process showed me that is not the case. Out of the 1,167 registered voters in Lumberton, 401 voters cast their votes; made their voices heard and I am appreciative of everyone that exercised their right to vote. However, I’m troubled by the fact that 20 votes were discarded and many were discarded because the election commissioner was so lax in her duties that she relied on the word of Cora Rogers, someone that apparently knows every black voter that lives in and outside the city limits of Lumberton, instead of contacting the Lamar County Circuit Clerk’s office to verify the location of the voters. I still find it interesting that the majority of the votes discarded were those of people from my community. Cora said they don’t live in Lumberton but most of them live within walking distance from my house and I was able to qualify to run for mayor but my neighbors were not qualified to vote. Interesting!
There was a total of 401 votes cast. Of those votes, there were 152 white voters and 229 black voters. A total of 381 votes were counted and 20 votes discarded. Interesting! Now I’m not naïve and I know that every black vote cast was not for me because Ben Winston, Bobby Gibson, Cora Rogers, Tommy Dukes and their families voted but I also know that every white voter didn’t vote for Kent Crider. Now for those that like to stray from the topic, this is not about race it’s about the lack of integrity of the electoral process in Lumberton. When people were going to the polls to vote for me, they didn’t know they had so many obstacles to overcome. They had to deal with the city clerk that had me in court for a year over a frivolous lawsuit but she’s supposed to ensure the integrity of the electoral process. Yeah right. There were poll workers giving people the wrong instructions, telling them they had to initial their ballot (so those ballots were not counted) and let’s not forget about those that actually did not live in the city limits were allowed to vote. The other day, I was talking to Mr. Henry Jefferson and he asked what was I planning to do because
“They are trying to steal this election through voter fraud.”I didn’t have a response but I told him that I am documenting all the errors and seeking relief via other avenues.
The fact that my poll watcher was not allowed to witness the ballot boxes and stations getting set up but Merlene’s husband was allowed to sit in the building is unacceptable. The fact that we were told that the affidavit ballots were verified with the Lamar County Circuit Clerk’s office, but later we find out they were verified by Cora Rogers is unacceptable. The fact that we were told the ballots were not accepted because they did not reside in the City of Lumberton but in an interview, Crider said they ballots were not accepted because the voters had felony records is unacceptable. Months before this election and months before I decided to run for mayor, a friend texted me the following quote:
“Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decides everything.”Later I discovered that Josef Stalin is credited for making that quote. Interesting! Unfortunately, there’s no statue in the Mississippi Code for a recount but there are other provisions and I will utilize them all in order bring attention to what’s going on here in Lumberton. There’s one other avenue of relief available but since they haven’t responded to the letter I presented on yesterday, I don’t think they’re going to go that route but I needed to make sure the letter was submitted before the election was certified to create a paper trail and show that I exhausted every option available. For some reason, the clerk that took my paperwork thought I was going to leave without getting a copy of my paperwork stamped received.