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Inflated Voter Rolls Still a Problem in Mississippi

By Daniel Cherry | Published 27 Feb 2012 07:42pm | comments

Mississippi's head elections officer says 16 counties in the state have more registered voters than residents. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how officials say fixing inflated voter rolls is the key ingredient to having fair elections.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released the 2011 elections report to the Mississippi legislature and the results show bloated voter rolls are still a big concern. Hosemann says the problem makes voter fraud more of a possibility.

"On election day individuals could come in and say they were so-and-so and vote someone who's left the county. We've had reports of that in other counties. So bloated voter rolls are the key ingredient here for a lot of other issues."

Hosemann says local election commissioners are tasked with purging the voter rolls...some just aren't doing it. Gary Knight is the President of the Mississippi Election Commission Association. He says he's willing to collaborate with the Secretary of State to look into the issue.

"The Election Commission Association of Mississippi and the Secretary of State's office could unite in efforts to review work of commissioners in underachieving counties. And if the concerns are validated then the Election Commission Association and the Secretary of State's office will institute the changes necessary to address those concerns."

According to the report, Humphreys County is the biggest offender with about 2,500 registered voters more than actual citizens eligible to vote. Senator Chris McDaniel is the Chair of the Senate Elections Committee. He says he's pushing to bring all parties involved together to reform what he calls "antiquated laws".

"We need to people that are affected most by the changes in the law, those are the circuit clerks, the election commissioners, and others that need to have an active say in how we rewrite the laws, and if they'll come up here and work with us, I think we can get some things done to make the elections fair for the people in the state."

Officials say the Voter ID law will alleviate some fraud when it goes into effect, but more needs to be done to ensure accurate elections.

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