Secretary of State Verifies Voter Fraud

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

The state of Mississippi is expecting a record voter turnout this November.
Mississippians will choose a new president, elect senators and congressmen, as well as supreme court justices.

But a report on one county's special elections this summer may have you questioning the sanctity of the voting process here in the state.

Mississippi's secretary of state says what his office found in Wilkinson County was both disappointing and disturbing.

But he said, in all likelihood, this voter fraud is not limited to just one county. And it's up to voters to do something about it.

"When one person casts their vote illegally in a statewide election, it cancels your vote," said Hosemann. "That's why this is so important. It's not just a Wilkinson County problem."

The secretary of state said this is the first report verifying voter fraud in Mississippi.

Asked by Judge Jim Parsons to monitor behavior in all nine precincts in Wilkinson County, Hosemann's office sent 13 people to observe exactly what went on during to special elections over the summer.

"It was a well-oiled machine and it apparently had been run before," Hosemann said.

The report says candidates and their representatives brought car loads of voters to the polls, assisted voters in the booth whether they needed it or not, and even brought lunches to certain poll workers, seemingly as a reward.

In one precinct, the report states 50 to 75 percent of all voters received assistance. State law says only the disabled, blind or illiterate can receive assistance, and then only when they ask for it.

"Here's the book on it. Here's what happens. Here's what's going on, and now we'll find out if people in Mississippi are willing to put up with it or not," said Hosemann.

Because the secretary of state has no authority to prosecute, this report has been passed on to the Attorney General's office and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"What we found out there was disturbing, and yes, I think it's systematic," said Hosemann. "I think it's been there a while and I think now's a good time to stop it."

The attorney general's office does not comment on ongoing investigations, but did say Tuesday afternoon, one person in Wilkinson County has been indicted on three counts of voter fraud from the August 2007 election.

Hosemann said his office is doing everything it can to make sure the November election goes smoothly.

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