Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann Thursday distributed a sample ballot to elections officials listing the special Senate election between Republican Sen. Roger Wicker and Democratic challenger Ronnie Musgrove near the bottom of the ballot, the Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger said Friday.
Gov. Haley Barbour in December named Wicker to succeed Sen. Trent Lott, who resigned from the Senate. The Wicker-Musgrove contest is a special election to determine who will serve the remainder of Lott's original term.
The legal challenge to the sample ballot arose out of concern that with the Senate race so near the bottom of the ballot, many voters would overlook it and not vote for one candidate or the other.
Attorneys for Barbour and Hosemann, both Republicans, argued that Mississippi law does not specifically speak to ballot placement in the case of special elections. However, Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green Friday ruled that the law "explicitly states that candidates for the U.S. Senate shall come first on the ballot, along with others who are seeking national office."
Attorneys for Barbour and Hosemann were expected to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court.