By KELLY DANIELS and BRIAN HAWKINS
Starkville Daily News
The runoff election for the third Circuit Court judgeship has already about 100 absentee ballots cast in Oktibbeha County, Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis said.
Voters will head to the polls Nov. 23 to determine which of the two Clay County candidates, Nebra Porter and Lee Coleman, will fill the Place 3 judgeship for the 16th Circuit Court District..
In the Nov. 2 general election, neither Coleman nor Porter were able to win a majority (50 percent plus 1) of the votes cast in a three-way race with fellow West Point attorney Bob Marshall to win the Circuit Court judgeship outright. Coleman won about 41 percent of the votes, while Porter won about 32 percent.
Since Coleman and Porter were the top two vote-getters in the race, they advanced to the runoff. The winner will be the third judge to serve with incumbent judges Lee Howard and Jim Kitchens, who were both re-elected to the Place 2 and Place 1 positions, respectively.
Porter has practiced civil and criminal law for over 20 years. Coleman has served as attorney for the Clay County Board of Supervisors.
Circuit Court judges for the 16th District serve Lowndes, Clay, Noxubee and Oktibbeha counties.
The Place 3 judgeship was created by an act of the Mississippi Legislature in 2005 to help ease a case backlog and to eliminate what officials referred to as “running with the herd” in judicial races.
All voters in Oktibbeha County will be able to vote in the runoff, McGinnis said.
Absentee ballots for the runoff may be cast at the Circuit Clerk’s Office in the Oktibbeha County Courthouse Annex on West Main Street weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Circuit Clerk’s Office will also be open this Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon to allow voters an additional opportunity to cast an absentee ballot.
In order to vote absentee, residents must meet one of the following conditions as set forth in state law:
• The voter is an enlisted or commissioned member of any component of the U.S. Armed Forces and a citizen of Mississippi, or spouse of dependent of a such a member.
• The voter is a member of the Merchant Marine or the American Red Cross and is a citizen of Mississippi, or spouse of dependent of a such a member.
• The voter is a disabled war veteran who is a patient in any hospital or is a citizen of Mississippi, or spouse
of dependent of a such a member.
• The voter is a civilian attached to and serving outside the U.S. with any branch of the armed forces, Merchant Marine or Red Cross, and is a citizen of Mississippi, or spouse of dependent of a such a member.
• The voter is a citizen of Mississippi temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States and District of Columbia.
• The voter is a citizen of Mississippi enrolled as a student at a U.S. Military Academy.
• The voter is a student, teacher or administrator and a college, university, junior college, high school, junior high school or elementary school whose studies or employment necessitate the absence from the county of his or her voting residency.
• The voter will be outside the county on election day.
• The voter is age 65 and older.
• The voter is the parent, spouse or dependent on someone with a temporary or permanent physical disability who is hospitalized outside his county of residence more than 50 miles away and will be with that person on election day.
• The voter is a member of the congressional delegation or spouse or dependent of a member of the congressional delegation.
• The voter is required to be at work on election day during the times the polls will be open.
For more information about the requirements for absentee voting or on the runoff election, call the Circuit Clerk’s Office at 323-1356.