Election Report Meant to Be an Eye Opener - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson 07/02/08

Election Report Meant to Be an Eye Opener

 By Jon Kalahar

jkalahar@wlbt.net

 

  The Secretary of State's office has released a first of it's kind report to the public. It details both the good and bad from this year's primary and runoff elections.

   Delbert Hosemann says it give Mississippians a good measuring stick for where our state election process stands. The Secretary of State says voter fraud is his biggest concern.

For the first time, the Secretary of State sent out election observers to seventeen counties. The result was this report and many areas that need improvement.

Among the most notable areas, polls were not clearly marked, too small for the number of voters or not open on time. Some voting machines did not work or were not re-set.

But those are minor to some individuals outside polling places, aggressively offering assistance to voters. Hosemann says that led to fraudulent votes cast on election day.

"This assistance issue where people are basically being brought to the polls who don't need assistance, are quite capable of voting for themselves, et into the voting place and their ballot actually cast for them," said Hosemann.

But that's not all. In 24 counties the number of registered voters is higher than those living in those counties. And it could be hurting voter turnout.

For the March presidential primary, only one out of three registered voters voted. The highest turnout being in Hinds County and the lowest turnout in Leflore.

"We're really worried that voter confidence, people will think these things are going on, voter fraud is going on and we're really worried that's eroding our confidence in our system," said Hosemann.

Hinds County Circuit Clerk Barbara Dunn would like to see a better way to prosecute voter fraud.

"I have often stated I wish that we had a fraud division because the law is now to give it to your local DA. Well, your local DA is bogged down," said Dunn.

Hosemann says his office is working to purge the voter rolls of those 24 counties with too many registered voters.

But it may not be done by the November election. He says the best way to do that is voter identification.

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