Shelby County Election Commissioners certified all but three names Thursday, Feb. 27, for the May county primary ballot and will meet March 5 to consider challenges to the residency of candidates Edith Ann Moore, M. Latroy Williams and E. Jefferson Jones.
Jones and Moore are candidates in different Democratic primaries for the Shelby County Commission. Williams is running in the Democratic primary for Shelby County Trustee.
The residency of all three was specifically questioned through formal complaints to the Election Commission.
Moore’s residency is being questioned by Willie Brooks, a rival candidate in the commission District 6 Democratic primary. Jones’ residency is being questioned by Eddie Jones, a rival candidate in the commission District 11 primary.
Based on the three complaints, the Election Commission will meet in special session March 5 and decide whether the three contenders should be added to the ballot.
At the noon withdrawal deadline Thursday, Shelby County Commission chairman James Harvey dropped out of the Democratic primary race for Shelby County Mayor making it a race among county commissioner Steve Mulroy, former county commissioner Deidre Malone and former Shelby County Schools board member Kenneth Whalum Jr.
And Clay Perry withdrew from the Democratic primary for Probate Court Clerk, leaving a field of seven vying for the right to challenge incumbent Republican clerk Paul Boyd in the August county general election.
With the two withdrawals and the delay in approving the three other would-be candidates, the Election Commission approved a list of 81 candidates for the May primaries. Included on the list was former Shelby County Schools board member Martavius Jones in the county commission District 10 Democratic primary. The commission staff had ruled that Jones was short the required 25 signatures of voters living in the district. Jones successfully questioned the disqualification of one of the signatures which gave him the 25 needed to make the race.
Candidates in the August non-partisan Shelby County Schools board and judicial races have until April 3 at noon to file their qualifying petitions for the ballot.
Election Commission attorney John Ryder said the commission is filing a brief in Memphis Federal Court over the county commission’s plan to change the structure of the school board to nine districts covering Memphis and unincorporated Shelby County. The brief will not take a stand one way or the other on the redistricting, but will instead urge U.S. District Judge Samuel “Hardy” Mays to act quickly in his review of the new districts.
Mays has to rule on the redistricting plan under terms of the court consent decree governing the reformation of public education in Shelby County.
Election Commissioners have said they need word from Mays on the plan at least a month from the filing deadline to be able to adjust the ballot. Candidates have been pulling petitions since January for a 13-district school board that covers all of Shelby County, including the six suburban cities and towns that are excluded from the nine-district school board plan.
Mays has not indicated when he might rule.