- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 26, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi elections officials on Tuesday rejected requests to keep two judicial challengers off the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

Attorneys for Circuit Judge Lee Coleman in Clay, Oktibbeha, Lowndes and Noxubee counties questioned whether challenger Monique Brooks Montgomery meets residency requirements to run. The state Board of Elections Commissioners said she does.

The commission also approved Takiyah Perkins as a candidate for circuit judge in Leflore, Sunflower and Washington counties. An anonymous complaint questioned whether Perkins has been an attorney long enough to run for judge. Election commissioners said she has been at practicing attorney for at least five years, the minimum required.

In papers filed with the commission, Perkins said she was admitted to practice law in Mississippi on Oct. 2, 2008.

The state Board of Election Commissioners is made up of Gov. Phil Bryant, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and Attorney General Jim Hood. A special assistant attorney general, Phil Carter, attended Tuesday’s meeting and voted on behalf of Hood.

During the meeting, commissioners asked Montgomery several questions to determine her residency, including what address she uses on her driver’s license.

Montgomery said she has lived for several months at a home in West Point, and her driver’s license lists that address, which is the same one she used to qualify for the judicial race.

David Owen, an attorney representing Coleman, said a private investigator has gone to the West Point home and taken photos that show Montgomery doesn’t live there. Owen said the only furniture in the home is a chair.

While election commissioners did not ask Montgomery about the furniture in the house, Bryant told Owen: “If someone can enter on my home uninvited and take photographs, maybe we are in trouble.”

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