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Miss. Sec. of State on Watch for Voting Irregularities in Primaries

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 07 May 2013 04:28am | comments
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Municipal primary elections are being held today in cities throughout  Mississippi. The outcome of some key races are being heavily scrutinized by both business leaders and election officials. 
Today's primaries will narrow the field for mayoral candidates across Mississippi. Analysts predict one of the toughest races will be in the capitol city where Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson is seeking a fourth term.
Johnson faces nine other Democrats and three independents. During a Stennis Press Luncheon yesterday, Ben Allen, President of Downtown Jackson Partners said  business leaders are keeping a close eye on the race because of the impact it could have on downtown development.
"If a lot of these things downtown happen, it's going to create wealth, which is taxes and once they create wealth which is taxes, we can get some of these things taken care of.  I'm hoping  that whoever gets elected mayor will make a renewed effort to work with the private business to make some of these things happen," said Allen.
The primary election in Jackson as well as 14 other cities will receive a thorough review of absentee ballots cast. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says it comes on the heels of several complaints from municipal clerks, elected officials and citizens regarding a high number of people voting absentee. 
"In Macon, Mississippi, over 20% of the eligible voters have requested an absentee ballot, in Mississippi, it's typically 4 or 5% for a whole election.  In one precinct, it was over 40%, so that's an opportunity for mischief and we think that those numbers are indicative of other issues," explains Hosemann. 
Hosemann says while members of his staff will be out in more than a dozen cities today, he is asking for the publics help in reporting any voting irregularities. 
"The most effective people we have is the individual voter, so if you see an abnormality or you see people that are obviously not following the law, voting irregularly, or all the other things that you see in maybe an election, just call our office and we will tend to it," assures Hosemann.
Hosemann says anyone attempting to commit voter fraud will be reported immediately to the Attorney General and the local District Attorney. 


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