Voters in Olive Branch’s Ward 3 will go to the polls Feb. 16 to decide who will represent them as alderman following Monday’s untimely death of Harold Henderson.
The 68-year-old Henderson, who had been representing Ward 3 for seven years, died of complications from heart surgery that was done about six weeks ago.
The Olive Branch board voted Tuesday night to set the date of the special election, as required by state statute. Voting will take place at the Nichols Community Center, 10947 Highway 178, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Under the calendar passed by the Board, candidates interested in the position must file by 5 p.m. on Jan. 27.
The deadline for in-person absentee voting at the Municipal Clerk’s office will be Saturday, Feb. 13 at 12 noon. The office will also be open the preceding Saturday morning, Feb. 6, between 8 a.m. and 12 noon for absentee voting, in addition to its normal hours of operation.
If a candidate doesn’t get a majority of the vote on Feb. 16, a runoff election will take place March 1.
In remarks before the special election vote at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, Olive Branch Mayor Scott Phillips expressed the loss the city felt about the passing of Henderson.
“Harold was a dedicated and dependable elected official, who could always be trusted to perform his duties with energy and often a touch of humor,” Phillips said. “He will be greatly missed by me, the Board and all city employees.”
Phillips also explained the reason to make the decision on a special election so quickly.
“State law sets a very tight schedule for special elections in the event of a vacancy in office created with Alderman Henderson’s passing,” Phillips said. “The election law requires that the Board set the date for a special election at the next regular meeting after a vacancy occurs, or at a special meeting within 10 days of the vacancy, whichever occurs first. We have confirmed with the Secretary of State’s office that we must set the date at tonight’s meeting.”
Phillips added the state law requirement is to ensure that no Ward be without representation for an extended period of time.
Services for Henderson were held Wednesday at Maples Memorial United Methodist Church in Olive Branch.
Henderson had retired from Bell South but continued to do contract work with AT&T.
He leaves his wife, Joy Loftin Henderson of Olive Branch; a daughter, Leslie Smith and her husband, Brad of Olive Branch; two sons, Will Henderson and his wife, Laura of Olive Branch, and Jay Henderson and his wife, Kati of Olive Branch; six grandchildren, JoyAnn Alderson, Audrey and Alley Henderson, Elli, Lexi, and Colt Henderson.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.