Eric Mitchell and family

Eric Mitchell, winner of the Leflore County District 4 supervisor’s race, and his family gather at the courthouse shortly after final results were issued Wednesday. From the left are his sister, Vanessa Mitchell; nephew Zandarion Stasher; Mitchell; his wife, Teresa Mitchell; and son ZaBian Mitchell.

Eric Mitchell, who twice before tried to unseat Leflore County’s incumbent District 4 Supervisor Wayne Self, has succeeded on his third attempt, winning the race by only 16 votes.

The Election Commission completed Tuesday’s final results, including more than 800 absentee ballots and about 100 affidavit ballots, around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, ending a work day that began at 10:30 a.m.

The District 4 race had 1,545 votes. Mitchell received 780, or 50.5%, to Self’s 764, or 49.5%.

Mitchell and his sister, Vanessa, were among those who quietly observed as the commission opened and counted paper ballots throughout the day.

When he realized he had won, a smile lit his face. “I am glad it’s over,” he said. “I just want to enjoy my family now.

“I am going to rest for a while and prepare myself for the job at hand,” said Mitchell, an Itta Bena businessman who ran as a Democrat against Self, an independent. Mitchell, 42, also is employed as a computer technician for the Greenwood Leflore Consolidated School District.

Self, 51, has served as the supervisor in District 4 for nearly 20 years. The owner of a small trucking company currently serves as the board’s president. He is the only incumbent on the five-member board to be defeated.

Wayne Self and Ken Spencer

District 4 Supervisor Wayne Self, left, speaks with Undersheriff Ken Spencer Wednesday as they watch the Election Commission prepare absentee ballots for counting. At the rear are commissioners Preston Ratliff, left, and Edward Course, chairman.

Earlier in the day before the results were final, Self said about running a few points behind, “I am accepting it like it is, whatever it is.” However when asked whether he would challenge the election if his opponent won by a small number, Self said, “I’m not sure right now.”

In the nonpartisan District 5 school board race, the final results affirmed the Nov. 26 runoff between top vote-winners Jackie Cooper-Lewis, principal of St. Francis School, and Curressia Brown, the acting chair of the Business Department at Mississippi Valley State University. With the addition of absentee and affidavit votes, Cooper-Lewis edged out Brown by 19 votes in the four-person race. Cooper-Lewis received 30.2% of the 1,354 votes cast, compared to 28.8% for Brown.

Jackie Cooper-Lewis

Jackie Cooper-Lewis, a candidate for the Leflore County District 5 school board seat, waits for a copy of final election results at the far end of a counter in the circuit clerk’s office at the courthouse. At her left is Bobbie Peoples, who also was waiting on results. Cooper-Lewis will face Curressia Brown in a runoff Nov. 26.

The absentee ballots were read by a scanner to record votes. The Election Commission at one point convened a “resolution board” of the Rev. Jessie Payne, Gary McDonald and Robert Sims, all of Greenwood, to transcribe 73 absentee ballots that the scanner could not read because of scribbles or erasures.

Preston Ratliff, District 3 commissioner, said “The purpose ... is that where ballots cannot be scanned, the resolution board transfers them (the voter’s marks) from one ballot to another” so the votes can be counted.

When asked why the commission didn’t fast-forward the results for Districts 4 and 5, Ratliff said the program that they use requires that they enter information step-by-step and for the whole county.

And the commission’s chairman, Edward Course, said this is required by law.

Ratliff said, “I know that some people are in a hurry, but the Election Commission is not.”

Contact Susan Montgomery at 581-7233 or

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