Incumbent Republican files petition to overturn DeSoto County election results

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Left: Democratic candidate Hester Jackson-McCray. Right: Republican incumbent Ashley Henley.

Data pix.

DESOTO COUNTY, Tenn. — A member of the Mississippi House of Representatives who lost her seat by 14 votes is claiming voter fraud.

More than a month after a tight election, the battle continues for the State of Mississippi House District 40 seat out of DeSoto County.

Republican Ashley Henley, who was the incumbent, lost last month to Democratic candidate Hester Jackson-McCray. Henley filed a petition last week to contest the results.

In the petition, Henley claimed technical errors at polling locations and voter fraud, saying some voters do not live in their district. Henley posted a video to her Facebook page and said she's received backlash for the petition.

"The flood gates of hate are wide open," she said in the video.

She said she has been called part of the 1% and a white, racist Republican trying to steal an election. She said the claims are untrue.

Those with Jackson-McCray's team are sticking by their candidate.

Kelly Jacobs, who was a campaign advisor for Jackson-McCray, said she is the first woman of color elected from her district to the state and went on to say Jackson-McCray did nothing wrong.

"She won her election fair and square," Jacobs said. "So she made history. We were elated."

She said if Henley's petition is upheld, that brings a new issue.

"Then if the Republican-controlled legislature agrees and vacates the position, then they're agreeing that there was voter fraud committed in DeSoto County, and who is going to investigate that?" Jacobs said. "Because the voter fraud is not just against Ashley Henley allegedly, but all of the candidates who are on the two-page ballot."

As for Henley, she said it's her right to file the petition.

"We have laws for a reason," she said. "We have rules, proper procedures and policy for a reason."

Jackson-McCray is now in the process of trying to hire an attorney.

In the petition, Henley asks the Mississippi House of Representatives to overturn the election.

Henley said a committee will be formed, but we won't know what happens next until early January, when that body meets again.

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