This may be the last chapter in the saga of the 2015 election for the Union County Superintendent of Education.
As you may recall, this story began with the August 4th Primary, when Ken Basil, current Union County Superintendent of Education , and Loretta Hartfield each scored enough votes to require a run-off for the Democratic nominee for the position; Roger Browning ran unopposed on the Republican ballot, earning a spot on the general election ballot.
On August 20th, the non-partisan Union County Election Commission ruled that Browning be disqualified from the race because he does not live in the Union County Schools District. Browning said that he “did not know” that he didn’t live in the district proper.
In the Run-off election on August 25th, Basil handily defeated Hartfield receiving 1757 votes (56.9%) to Hartfield’s 1326 votes (42.9%).
Browning petitioned the Union County Circuit Court to overrule the election commission, and on September, 14th the court did just that. The court stated that the election commission had erroneously based their decision on a previous consent decree that was not applicable to the Superintendent’s position.
By law, the Circuit Court Clerk must have a general election ballot completed, in order for military, etc. living outside the country to have time to vote and return their ballots before the November 3rd election. The time frame was getting pretty tight.
Ken Basil, on September 15th appealed to the Circuit Court to reconsider the decision, and then filed an additional appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court asking for “a stay and for an expedited briefing schedule and ruling” on the Circuit Court’s decision.
The MS Supreme court, on September 19th, ruled, in its own words: “IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Motion for Stay and for Expedited Briefing Schedule and Ruling is denied, in part, and granted, in part.” Basically, they refused to immediately throw out the Circuit Court ruling, but left the door open to do so in the future, perhaps in October. Browning’s name was to remain on the general election ballot.
Now, we are to October. And we have a Supreme Court decision that can be summarized as follows: Browning is not eligible to run for the office of Union County Superintendent of Education. Because of time constraints, Browning’s name will remain on the general election ballot. Votes cast for Browning will not count.
Let the elections begin!