Circuit Judge Jenifer Holt ruled late Wednesday that Probate Judge Victor Manning is prohibited from placing Democrat Kimberly Paris Coates on the 2020 election ballot as a candidate for Jackson County Superintendent of Education.

Holt’s ruling came following a hearing earlier Wednesday after the Jackson County Republican Party challenged Coates’ qualifications to run for superintendent.

The local Republican party argued that Coates did not file the required certification from the State Department of Education before the deadline for qualification for the primary elections, which was on Nov. 8.

Holt ruled that Coates failed to submit a signed certificate by the state superintendent that she holds a certificate of administration and supervision as required by the law prescribing the qualifications of a county superintendent of education by the deadline.

Holt said Manning, the county’s chief election official, could be subject to a penalty of $250 for permitting the printing on a ballot the name of a person as a candidate for, or nomination by a political party as a candidate for, the office of county superintendent of education when there has not been filed with the probate judge such certificate.

In the hearing Wednesday morning, Coates, who represented herself without an attorney, said she chose to run for the political position on the last day of qualifying, and then spent a month trying to get the certification letter to give to Manning.

“I’ve done everything in good faith,” Coates said, adding she finally received the certification letter Wednesday.

Chairman Toni McGriff, of the Jackson County Democrat Executive Committee, said, “it’s disappointing but the law seems pretty clear.”

McGriff said Coates has all the qualifications and credentials to run for superintendent.

“We’ll move on from here,” said McGriff.

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