Hattiesburg Asst. To Mayor Talks About Unlocked Vault Containing - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Hattiesburg Asst. To Mayor Talks About Unlocked Vault Containing Election Ballots

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Before the Election Commission was able to start verifying and counting ballots this morning, they had to deal with a separate issue.

City officials say the doors of City Hall were accidentally left unlocked Wednesday, along with the vault that contained the ballots for the election.

"The vault was accidentally left open," said John Brown, assistant to the mayor in the city of Hattiesburg.

Brown said the city clerk, Eddie Myers, was the last person to leave the building, and he didn't shut the vault closed all the way.

"He dreadfully regrets that this has happened," Brown said.

The front door to city hall was not locked as well.

"His normal route to his car is the bottom floor exit, and he took that exit last night and did not check the front door," he said.

This prompted some concerns about if the ballots had been tampered with overnight.

"Those ballots were sealed with a special tag and put inside the vault," he said. 

Election Commission Chairman George Decoux said the ballots had a seal on them that was still intact when he arrived this morning. Decoux said it and wasn't removed until they started verifying the affidavit ballots again.

"The Election Commission had those ballots sealed and I have the seal," Decoux said. @

"That seal was checked it was intact and all the ballots were intact," Brown said.

Independent candidate Dave Ware said he was notified that there was an issue.

"I spoke with the city clerk last night and he'd given me some information," he said. "I still have not received a full report of what occurred.

Brown said since nothing was stolen or seemed to be tampered with, they are not calling it a "break-in".

"There was nothing done wrong other than a door being left unlocked and the safe was not pushed up," said Brown.

Lt. Jon Traxler of the Hattiesburg Police Department said there was a police information report filed that had not been approved yet.

WHLT has requested for a copy of the report and will have more updates as they come. The city clerk would not comment on camera.

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