Secretary Hosemann Reminds Voters of Laws Governing Conduct at Polls
Jackson, Miss.—One week remains before Election Day. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is asking voters to follow laws governing conduct in precincts, thereby ensuring ballots are cast in an efficient and orderly manner on November 8.
“Our statutes are designed to balance preventing interference with the voting process with protecting the integrity of the election. The ultimate goal is safeguarding all Mississippians’ right to vote in a free and fair election,” Secretary Hosemann said. “Our local election officials and poll workers are trained and ready. There are always minor interruptions on Election Day, but I am hopeful each and every citizen will do his or her part in following the law and maintaining order at the polls.”
State law provides only local Election Commissioners and Circuit Clerks, who run Mississippi general elections, and designated poll workers are permitted to remain in the State’s more than 1,800 precincts on Election Day. There are 410 Election Commissioners across Mississippi’s 82 counties, and an estimated 10,000 trained poll workers will be working precincts on November 8.
Designated federal and state observers are also permitted to remain in polling places. The Secretary of State’s Office will have trained observers in at least 32 counties. Observers report any problem observed within a precinct to the Secretary of State’s Elections Division, which in turn contacts the appropriate county election official, District Attorney, or law enforcement officer to address and resolve the issue.
Additionally, two credentialed poll watchers present with the permission and on behalf of each political party are permitted to observe in the precinct. One credentialed poll watcher with the permission and on behalf of each candidate is also permitted to observe.
All other members of the public are prohibited from loitering within 30 feet of a polling place, unless they are standing in line waiting to cast a ballot. Campaigning is not permitted within 150 feet of a precinct, unless the activity is taking place on private property.
Other Mississippi laws impacting conduct on Election Day include, but are not limited to:
· Voters are not permitted to show any other person their marked ballot;
· Write-in candidates are only counted in the event of the death, resignation, withdrawal, or removal of any candidate whose name was printed on the official ballot; and
· Voters who have voted absentee cannot change their absentee vote, but can override their absentee vote by voting on Election Day at the polls. The absentee ballot will then be marked “rejected.”
To date, about 71,544 absentee ballots have been requested by voters. During the 2012 General Election, 106,722 absentee ballots were requested. More than 1.86 million Mississippians are registered to vote in the upcoming election. Census data estimates the State’s eligible voting age population to be about 2.26 million.
Polls are open on November 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Any voter in line at 7 p.m. is entitled to cast a ballot. Voters can find their precinct and a sample ballot by visiting the Secretary of State’s Polling Place Locator.
For more information about State election laws, visit the Secretary of State’s web site or call the Elections Division at (601) 576-2550.