BRIAN PERRY/Ballot security

Voter intimidation clearly crosses the line and violates the law. For more than half a century, many Mississippians were prevented from voting (or even registering to vote) due to their skin color. Threats and intimidation were common; beatings, bombings and murder reinforced the threats.

But there is a difference between voter intimidation and ballot security.

Candidates have a right to observe the election process and challenge errors whether they’re accidental or intentional.

Mississippi law allows any candidate on the ballot to designate a poll watcher to be within the voting area to monitor the election process. The precinct managers conducting the election must provide a candidate or his designated poll watcher “with a suitable position from which he or his representative may be able to carefully inspect the manner in which the election is held. He or his representatives shall be allowed to challenge the qualifications of any person offering to vote.” A designated poll watcher may be in the ballot area from the time the poll opens until after the poll closes and the votes are reported.

Neshoba Democrat