Election Commission Approves U.S. Senate Ballot

Mississippi election officials are moving forward with the normal election process, even in the midst of a runoff challenge by Chris McDaniel.

"Today the Mississippi state election commission, which consists of Gov. Phil Bryant, Attorney General Jim Hood and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann have approved the ballot for November," election commission chairman Jeff Tate says.

Right now that ballot will include Republican Thad Cochran, Democrat Travis Childers and the Reform Party's Shawn O'Hara as U.S. Senate nominees. This means election officials can get to work on the next steps in this process, like ordering ballots, making sure the ballot styles for each precinct are correct and hiring poll workers.

Election commissioners say they can't wait on these challenge results in moving forward. They're working a tight schedule, and they need these ballots in time to reach overseas military absentee voters.

"There are legal deadlines," Tate explains. "We have to have a ballot here in time for people to absentee vote. For our military overseas, we have to have those ballots here on time to get to them, so that they can vote in time for the November election."

So what happens if the Jones County circuit court judge orders that McDaniel's challenge is valid? Tate says the judge would determine what changes need to be made. Election officials would then act accordingly.

"If anything changes, then we would go by what the judge then orders us to do," he says. "But until we get that ruling, we're moving ahead as usual with the election."

But in the meantime, he says they simply can't afford to wait.