Hosemann Completes Review of Hattiesburg Election

Jackson, Miss. The Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office has reviewed absentee ballot envelopes and applications from Hattiesburg's special mayoral election held Sept. 24, 2013.

“This election was conducted on the municipal level and not by the Secretary of State’s Office,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann in a news release. “Following the election, our agency went through each absentee ballot envelope and application to review whether or not state law was followed when accepting or rejecting an absentee ballot.”

According to Hosemann, absentee ballot envelopes that were marked “REJECTED” by poll workers should not have been opened or counted at the courthouse, while absentee ballot envelopes marked “ACCEPTED” by poll workers should have been opened and counted at the courthouse.

The Secretary of State’s Office said it could not make any determination whether or not ballots marked as “REJECTED,” “ACCEPTED” or were not marked “ACCEPTED or REJECTED” were actually opened and/or counted at the courthouse.

Only absentee ballot envelopes and/or applications were provided. The Secretary of State’s Office received no actual ballots.

The complete materials were made available to the Secretary of State’s office by the Municipal Clerk’s Office in January 2014. Of the 1,048 absentee ballots cast, 1,044 applications and/or envelopes were provided.

Hosemann is recommending more rigorous training for poll workers. The chairman of Hattiesburg's Municipal Election Commission said he plans to act on that by expanding training and putting an application system in place for poll workers.

A copy of the report is attached.