Mississippi voters will take part in the primary elections tomorrow, May 5. In advance, Attorney General Jim Hood wishes to inform citizens of some key information, per state law, to hopefully curb any election day issues.
“As with all elections and based on our observations and our conversations with Mississippians statewide, we believe some of the biggest potential problem areas lie with voter assistance and challenged ballot procedures,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.
Only voters who are: 1) blind, 2) physically disabled, or 3)cannot read or write are eligible to receive voter assistance and then, only after the voter has verbally requested such assistance. “State law provides that the assistance may be provided by anyone of the voter’s choosing, except their employer or union representative,” said Attorney General Hood.
Poll workers should also follow correct procedures for affidavit and challenged ballots. “Challenges are sometimes made arbitrarily as part of an effort to disrupt and delay the voting process,” said Attorney General Hood. “When poll workers believe a challenge is frivolous or not made in good faith, they may disregard the challenge and allow the voter to vote normally on a regular election day ballot or on the voting device if being used.”
The 150 Foot Rule
According to MS Code Section 23-15-895 it is unlawful for any candidate for elective office or any representative of a candidate to post or distribute cards, posters, or other campaign literature within 150 feet of any entrance to a building in which an election is being conducted. It is unlawful for a candidate or his/her authorized representative to appear at any polling place armed or uniformed or to display any badge or credentials except as may be issued by the Poll Managers of the precinct. This also included T-shirts with a candidate’s name and/or picture on it, such T-shirts must be covered or removed befor a voter comes within 150 feet of any entrance to a building in which an election is being conducted.
General Hood would also like to remind poll workers that according to MS Code Section 23-15-541 a physically disabled voter who does not vote by absentee ballot and who drives, or is driven, to the polling place, but is unable to enter the structure where the actual voting is taking place may be provided necessary assistance in voting if the Managers, in exercising sound discretion, determine that the voter is actually at the polling place.
Attorney General Hood would also like to remind voters that by law, mailed absentee ballots must be received at the municipal clerk’s office by 5pm TODAY, Monday, May 4.
The Attorney General’s Office will have investigators positioned throughout the state on election day to help assist local election officials and to address any other election issues that may arise.
To help officials and the general public, the Office of Attorney General has created a brochure that explains what constitutes an election crime and outlines the penalties for such. “Safeguarding the Vote: Recognizing and Reporting Election Crimes” is available online at www.agjimhood.com or by calling 601-359-3680.
If anyone suspects an election crime has been committed, you may contact the Public Integrity Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 601-359-4250 or your local District Attorney.
AG Jim Hood Press Release