Forecasting a low turnout: Hosemann says absentee votes can be changed by voting on election day
Published 7:00 am Thursday, November 3, 2016
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann held a press conference in Jackson Tuesday, one week prior to Election Day.
Hosemann fielded several questions about the election being rigged, expected turnout and changing votes which were already cast.
Hosemann said over 71,000 absentee ballots have already been cast, a decrease from around 105,000 at this time during the 2012 presidential election.
“I’m disappointed that we only have 71,000 absentee ballots. I wish that were higher,” Hosemann said.
Absentee voting will continue to take place until 5 p.m. on Monday for those who will be out of town on Election Day or those 65 and older or disabled, Hosemann said.
Mississippi voter ID laws will continue to be in effect for the sixth election year, Hosemann said.
The state issued about 130 voter ID cards in the last month and over 5,000 since 2012, he said.
“Mississippians are ID’d up…it didn’t disenfranchise but actually enfranchised Mississippians,” Hosemann said.
He also discussed procedures in the state that forbid voters from taking photographs while in the voting booth, whether for posting on social media or otherwise, Hosemann said.
The Mississippi legislature passed laws to prevent these practices in order to avoid compensation for voting for a particular candidate, Hosemann said.
He also encouraged voters to implement common sense precautions at the voting booth so the process can run smoothly and efficiently.
The Secretary of State’s office has also received calls from those who have already cast an absentee ballot, inquiring how they could change their vote, Hosemann said.
“You cannot go back to circuit clerks, but you can go vote at your polling place…If you go vote they will reject your absentee ballot,” he said.
On Election Day, Hosemann’s office will have poll watchers in 32 counties and the Attorney General’s office will have 17, he said.
“Every one of us are going to be working to have a free and fair election, dutifully done,” Hosemann said.
Political parties are allowed to have two poll watchers and each candidate on the ballot is allowed to have one poll watcher at each precinct, as long as they have approved credentials, Hosemann said.
“For the umpteenth time, I want to tell everybody that our voting machines are not linked to the Internet…Russia is not going to steal your vote,” Hosemann said.
The machines “are basically calculators as required by federal law,” he said.
Hosemann said the election is “not rigged, and will not be rigged a week from today.”
Though, he said over 4,000 attempts are made monthly to break into the statewide election management system.
However, “they’re not interested in your vote for president, they’re interested in your credit card,” Hosemann said.
He said his office is working with the Department of Homeland Security to continue to protect voters’ personal information. They should not be deterred from participating in the election.
“In the end, the people who will elect the president are sitting in your chair; you need to get up and go vote,” Hosemann said. “I’m pretty much sick of people saying they’re not going to vote. That’s not an option.”
Voting precincts will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8.
To find your precinct, visit the Secretary of States website at sos.ms.gov/PollingPlace or contact the Pearl River County Circuit Clerk’s office at 601-403-2300.