Vacancy in Representatives causes absentee confusion

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, September 28, 2016

For absentee voters in Mississippi’s House of Representatives District 106, the voting process will be “unique,” Reggie Hanberry, chair of the Pearl River County Election Commission said.
Absentee voters are those unable to attend the official polling station of their precinct, including the disabled, college students away from home and military personnel serving overseas.
Between Sept. 24 – Oct. 17 absentee voters will be required to fill out two ballots at separate times. The ballot available between Sept. 24 and Oct. 17 will include the federal ballot, which contains every candidate running in a race except for District 106. By Oct. 17 Hanberry expects the ballot for just District 106 to be available.
“We cannot make a second ballot until all of the candidates qualify, which can make the voting process difficult on both the voters and the election commission,” Hanberry said.
The separate ballot will only contain qualified candidates for the House of Representatives seat vacated by former District 106 Representative Herb Frierson. He vacated that seat after he was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Revenue for Mississippi by the governor.
The qualification deadline for the vacant District 106 seat was extended from the initial date of Sept. 9, to Oct. 10 because federal laws state that the governor could not declare an opening in an elected position until the seat was vacant, Hanberry said.
However, after about Oct. 17, absentee voters will receive one ballot with all candidates, Hanberry said.
Absentee voters can receive the ballot in person at the Pearl River County Circuit Clerk’s office or via email, after filling out the absentee application. If they cast their vote before Oct. 17, absentee voters will be notified that the District 106 ballot is available, Hanberry said.
The deadline for absentee voters to turn in their ballots is noon on Nov. 5 or before 5 p.m. on Nov. 7 if submitting A ballot via mail.
“Not everyone in the county is affected. There are 22 precincts in the county that would be affected, leaving 10 that are not affected by District 106,” Hanberry said.

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