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Some Mississippi Voters Skeptical Of Electronic Voting Machines

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 10 Oct 2012 03:56pm | comments

In less than a month, Mississippians will be casting ballots for president, in addition to four congressional seats, a senate seat and judicial races. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports some in Mississippi are still skeptical of state's electronic voting machines.

At the state fair in Jackson, Derrick Cooper with the secretary of state's office walks a voter through a mock ballot on an electronic voting machine.

The Secretary of state's office set up the machine at the fair to encourage residents, especially seniors, to practice and build trust in the machines.

But some like 76-year old William Sellers of Jackson still have questions about them.

"I don't know if they are going to count my vote or not when you vote electronic. But still, old folks still like to mark that ballot. They need to teach everybody before they get to the poll so they won't have to go in there with them and show them how to vote. And tell them how to vote," Sellers said.

61-year old Linda Pope of Clinton brought a bus load of seniors from her church to give them a chance to use the machine before Election Day.

"It gives them a little confidence. A little bit more confidence in their ability to vote with that they of machine rather than the old timey paper. (Do you trust the machine?) I do. It may be a little wishful thinking but I do trust it," Pope said.

Mississippi has had electronic voting for seven years.

Most of the counties in the state use the same machines, but a handful of counties like Hinds, Desoto and Harrison County bought their machines from another company.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann says that means if machines in those counties malfunction, there is nothing state election officials can do to help.

"It is some of the biggest counties. And there were problems with it this year in Hinds County. As you know from the news, one election commissioners couldn't program the machine and another one wouldn't program the machine so everything just went on hold for over a week to get the ballot was printed," Hosemann said.

Hosemann says electronic voting machines have proven that they are reliable and keep a secure and accurate count of the vote.

However, a report issued earlier this summer ranked Mississippi in the bottom three states for vote reliability because not all the machines have a paper back up that can be audited incase of questions about the outcome of the election.




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