Jones v. Moorman, 49131

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Citation327 So.2d 298
Docket NumberNo. 49131,49131
PartiesFord JONES v. Fred E. MOORMAN.
Decision Date02 March 1976

Omar D. Craig, Barrett J. Clisby, Oxford, for appellant.

Murray L. Williams, Water Valley, for appellee.

Before the Court En Banc.

INZER, Presiding Justice:

This is an appeal by appellant Ford Jones from an order of a special election tribunal dismissing his contest to the primary election of Fred E. Moorman as the democratic nominee for District 1 Supervisor of Yalobusha County.

The question is whether a contestant must file his contest or complaint with the county executive committee within twenty (20) days after the primary election in view of the alleged repeal of Mississippi Code 1942 Annotated section 3143.

On August 26, 1975, a democratic primary election was held in Yalobusha County. Contestee Fred E. Moorman and contestant Ford Jones were candidates for the democratic nomination for district 1 supervisor. On the following day, August 27, 1975, the county democratic executive committee (hereinafter committee) certified Moorman as the party's nominee by a vote of 621 to 619. On September 1, 1975, contestant Jones notified all concerned parties that he would examine the ballot boxes for district 1 on September 5, 1975, but by agreement of the parties, the examination was delayed until September 8, 1975.

On September 24, 1975, or 29 days after the election Jones filed a formal contest of the election results with the committee. The contest petition, while not literally asserting fraud, charged, inter alia, that the ballot boxes did not contain the certificates, receipt booklet, etc., required by Mississippi Code Annotated section 23-3-19 (1972). The committee declined to hear the petition on its merits because it felt the contest was not timely filed.

On September 29, 1975, Jones filed a petition for judicial review in the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Yalobusha County. A special tribunal was convened, and on October 21, 1975, the special tribunal affirmed the action of the committee.

Section 3143, Mississippi Code 1942 Annotated, a part of the Corrupt Practice Act pertaining to primary elections, provides in part as follows:

A person desiring to contest the election of another person returned as the nominee of the party to any county or beat office, may, within twenty days after the primary election, file a petition with the secretary, or any member of the county executive committee . . ..

By the provisions of Chapters 506 and 508, Laws of 1970, the legislature attempted to repeal over forty sections of the Code dealing with primary elections, including the foregoing section, and thereby abolish primary elections and to adopt a preferential election, or what is commonly known as an 'open primary law.' Thus, if section 3143 and the other sections were repealed, the primary elections held in 1975 were unauthorized by law and void. Therefore, the stated question turns on whether the attempt to repeal section 3143 and the other sections dealing with primary elections ever became effective.

Section 34, Chapter 506, Laws of 1970, is as follows:

If any section, or part of a section, of either House Bill 362 or House Bill 363, Laws of 1970, is declared unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, or is rendered unenforceable for any reason prior to January 1, 1971, then the Governor of Mississippi shall by proclamation declare this act to be invalid and the laws of the State of Mississippi, affected herein, shall remain in full force and effect as they were prior to the passage of this act.

It is apparent that the legislature did not intend that the repeal of the primary election law should become effective unless the change was approved as required by the Voting Rights Act enacted by Congress in 1965.

This punitive act was designed to apply only to a few southern states, including Mississippi. Section V of the Act, in effect, provides that no political subdivision subject to the act may put into effect any voting law or election practice different from that in effect on November 1, 1964, without first submitting the proposed change to the Attorney...

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3 cases
  • O'Neal v. Simpson, 50068
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 31, 1977
    ...from the District Court of the District of Columbia. In two recent cases, Todd v. Smith, 331 So.2d 920 (Miss.1976) and Jones v. Moorman, 327 So.2d 298 (Miss.1976), we held that the attempted repeal of a statute was not effective under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act unless approved by th......
  • Mississippi Public Service Commission v. Hughes Tel. Co., Inc., 51518
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • November 14, 1979
    ...will be entered here approving the rate schedule filed by Page 1079 the Mississippi Valley Gas Company effective February 14, 1974. (327 So.2d at 298). Section 77-3-67(4), (Supp.1978), provides as to the court's authority on (4) The court may . . . sustain or dismiss the appeal, modify or v......
  • Todd v. Smith, 49262
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • May 4, 1976
    ...Code 1942 Annotated § 3143 (1956), 'within twenty days after the primary election.' As this Court recently held in Jones v. Moorman, 327 So.2d 298 (Miss.1976), § 3143 was not effectively repealed by the Mississippi Legislature and is still in effect. Smith had an adequate remedy at law unde......

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