The numbers are in and Mississippians cast 26,433 absentee ballots for the general election, Which Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says is higher than usual and the number is enough to raise concern about potential voter fraud, especially coming off of previous elections where people have even been prosecuted.
"When I saw somebody witnessing thirty or forty or eighty absentee ballots, I started to question what was going on there," said Hosemann.
To help combat fraud Hosemann introduced legislation last year to limit the number of absentee ballots a person can witness to ten, but his proposal died in a house committee.
Hosemann says four years ago absentee ballots represented about two percent of the total votes, two years ago that number jumped to four percent. Three months ago, during the August primaries, absentee ballots represented six percent of the total votes. It's a steady increase Hosemann says may still be a concern, but also reflects a trend among voters.
"I think Mississippians are starting early voting whether the legislature has or not and I think that needs to be something the legislature needs to review," said Hosemann.
Although absentee voting is set up for veterans, the elderly, those out of the country and anyone who will be out of the county on election day, Hosemann says it's becoming more of a simple way to cast a vote before polls open.
"There's really no reason for us not to have an early voting concept and remove any barriers to people coming in to cast their ballots," said Hosemann.
Neighboring states, like Louisiana already have early voting and Hosemann says it's time Mississippi did the same, but it would first require voters to approve the voter ID initiative which is part of the general election ballot.
"We need to make it as easy as possible to cast a ballot," said Hosemann.
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