***Statement by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann regarding Hattiesburg Municipal Election***
“As we have repeatedly said, this election is for Hattiesburg and conducted by its citizens. Mississippi law does not allow the Secretary of State to conduct any municipal election. Our Agency provides the training and the election manuals.
The Secretary of State’s Office provided training to Municipal Election Commissioners. State law requires Municipal Election Commissioners to train the poll workers. The Secretary of State’s Office provided training to Hattiesburg Municipal Election Commissioners on August 28, 2013 and September 13, 2013. This training is the same training received by Municipal Election Commissioners statewide. The copy of the Mississippi Poll Manager Guide that was provided to the Election Commissioners and to the poll workers on Election Day is on our website at http://www.sos.ms.gov/elections5.aspx. Our Office addressed every question posed to it by the Elections Commissioners and offered additional training if the Commissioners required or requested it.
All precincts opened on Election Day and our observers acted as a conduit for election issues with our Staff Attorney. If an issue arose from a citizen, the issue was immediately transferred to the Election Commissioners, who were addressing them directly with the Poll Managers. Press releases were issued with any issues. Numerous Federal, State and candidate representatives observed the process.
Unfortunately, our initial Agency Observer Reports again point to failure to follow the training provided after the polls were closed. These issues include failure to properly seal the ballot box and failure to properly mark absentee ballots. Further, there has also been reported a case of voter impersonation for Hattiesburg Municipal voter Marvin Allen. We are compiling all Observer Reports and will release those to the Election Commission and the public.
The Attorney General is to answer any election issued raised by the interpretation of State law. The Election Commissioners are currently corresponding with the Attorney General’s Office.
The proper resolution of all of these issues under Mississippi law now rests with the Municipal Election Commissioners appointed by the City Council who are and who represent the citizens of Hattiesburg. Candidates will again have the opportunity to contest or accept any result. The Election Commission must certify the results to the Secretary of State by Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at 5:00 P.M.”