The Hattiesburg American, 8/22/8

A battle is brewing over ballot order in Mississippi, and Democrats believe the decision of a Republican-controlled board could influence how many people vote in a tightly contested special election for U.S. Senate.

Tim Phillips is campaign manager for Democrat Ronnie Musgrove, who’s challenging Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker in a race to finish the final four years of a term started by the GOP’s Trent Lott.

Phillips told The Associated Press on Thursday that he’s concerned the state Board of Election Commissioners, made up of two Republicans and one Democrat, will recommend that local officials put the Musgrove-Wicker contest at the very bottom of the Nov. 4 ballot.

Phillips said such a decision could mean that “tens of thousands of falloff voters would not vote,” in the U.S. Senate race and he believes that would hurt Musgrove, a former governor.