Melton appeals removal from ballot - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 03/18/09

Melton appeals removal from ballot

By David Kenney - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Mayor Frank Melton is appealing a decision to kick him out of the May primary.  Wednesday afternoon Melton's attorney, John Reeves, filed an appeal of the Democratic Executive Committee's decision to remove the mayor's name from the ballot.

The committee says Melton does not meet residency requirements to run for re-election.

The Hinds County Chancery Clerk's office says that Melton has not filed for homestead exemption there, but the Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled in the past that homestead exemption is not the sole method of determining where a political candidate lives.    

"The circuit clerk takes the petition to the supreme court, and the law requires that a separate judge who is not from this county hear it to avoid political problems with the local judges and that sort of thing," Reeves told WLBT. "So we'll get a judge appointed Monday, probably -- maybe tomorrow. We'll get a hearing next week from a judge outside this county. I think the result is going to be that the mayor's going to be put on the ballot."

Melton had his residency challenged in the election four years ago.

The deadline for the Hinds County Election Commission to form a final ballot is Monday.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood says a similar residency challenge was recently reversed by the state supreme court.

"The court said there are other factors to consider (and) that homestead exemption is a factor you should consider; however, it is a rebutable presumption," said Hood.

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