Renova, Mississippi

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Renova is a town in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 623 at the 2000 census.

The town is currently served by the mayoral/alderman-at-large form of government. Maurice F. Lucas, Sr. has served as the town's only mayor since its incorporation. Harvey L. Green, alderman-at-large, currently serves as Vice Mayor.

A controversial election took place in 2009, that left many residents puzzled.

On Sept. 16, 2010, the Honorable Judge Charles Webster ordered Renova’s election commission to hold a new election for the town’s mayoral position.

As a result of Webster’s court order, Jimmy L. Parker was deemed no longer the mayor of Renova.

“Because none of the attorneys involved in the case were notified nor was I, the court order was not transferred to the community until I found out about some time later after the order had been issued,” said Attorney Willie Griffin, Renova’s attorney. “According to both Parker’s lawyer and (Elbert G.) Scott’s lawyer, Willie Perkins, they had not received notice of the court’s order.”

In a letter from Griffin, Parker was given notification on Oct. 18, that as a result of the court order he was no longer mayor.

In a letter on Oct. 19 from Parker’s Attorneys Leontra M. Mayes and Ellis Pittman, the attorneys stated, “It is also our understanding that Miss. Code 23-25-857 provides that when a vacancy of this nature shall occur, the governing authority of the town shall enter an order fixing a date for the new election no later than 10 days after the vacancy has occurred. Furthermore, the new election should occur not less than 30 days nor more than 45 days after the date upon which the order is adopted.

“As of today the town of Renova is in direct violation of the Mississippi Code,” the letter states. “The vacancy occurred on Sept. 16, 2010, as indicated by the order entered into by the Honorable Judge Webster. Because of this the Town of Renova is clearly outside the 10 day time period allowed for fixing the new election date. We demand that a new election date be fixed within 10 days of Oct. 15, 2010, which is the date the town of Renova received notice of the vacancy. We further demand that the town of Renova strictly adhere to the statutory provisions and time limits governing municipal vacancies.”

Griffin sent a letter to the Mississippi Attorney General office requesting information on “if the prior mayor returns to office to serve pending the outcome of a new election or does the mayor pro tempore or some other alderman selected by the board serve pending the new election.”

On Oct. 22, 2010, Griffin received the response from the AG’s office stating, “We are aware of the opinion that the person serving as mayor on the date of the voided election is entitled to serve as a holdover pending the outcome of the new election. Since the June 2, 2009, mayoral election is held for naught, it is as if it never occurred. Therefore, pursuant to Section 21-15-1 the incumbent mayor on that date is entitled to serve pending the outcome of the new election.”

Scott, a candidate for mayor of Renova in 2009, petitioned the court contesting the results of the June 2, 2009, election in Renova. The court proceeded to trial in August 2010. Scott was a candidate for the mayor’s position of which Parker was declared the winner.

Scott requested two things of the court. One that the votes cast by Willie Grandberry Jr., Allexious Wesley and Dondrick Wesley be ruled illegal and that he be declared the winner of the mayoral election.

The court denied Scott’s request to be declared the winner. However it did agree that he had proved at least two of the voters had participated in the election illegally.

“The parties also agreed that the results of the election, including these two votes, was a tie — 92 votes for (Scott) and 92 votes for (Parker).

“Although this court finds that (Scott) has met his burden of proof only as to two alleged illegal voters, Mr. Allexious Wesley and Mr. Dondrick Wesley, because the election resulted in a tie vote, two votes are sufficient to cast uncertainty upon the out come of the election,” stated court documents. “Also, although the court cannot state with certainty that the election irregularities identified here were tainted with fraud, certainly they appear to have been willful in nature.

“Even where the percentage of illegal votes is small if attended by fraud or willful violations of the election procedure, this court will order a new election without reservation. As such, this court is compelled to order that the results of the June 2, 2009, mayoral race for … Renova be set aside and a new election be held.”

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