Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann checking Hattiesburg mayor absentee votes

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is examining absentee ballots from Hattiesburg’s recent special election.

The review will not change the outcome of the election. Incumbent Democrat Johnny DuPree won a fourth term by 202 votes over challenger Dave Ware, after the initial vote was thrown out by Forrest County Circuit Judge William Coleman.

Hosemann has requested that copies of the applications, envelopes and ballots of the 1,055 absentee votes cast in the Sept. 24 special mayoral election be sent to his office for examination.

“I want to emphasize this: We are not the election police,” Hosemann said last week. “But that being said, (the first) election was thrown out by a court, and I think it deserves a little scrutiny.

Hosemann said he wants to examine how many people said they were out of town on election day, how many people voted by mail and how many voted in person before the circuit clerk.

The examination could help Hosemann, a Republican, push for changes in how elections are administered the Hattiesburg American reports. Those could include more training of poll workers, election commissioners and other officials charged with the distributing, handling and accepting ballots. It could also bolster proposals to change how absentee ballots are handled.