Ballots Ready, Despite Courtroom Battle - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 09/22/08

Ballots Ready, Despite Courtroom Battle

By Jon Kalahar

Almost two weeks of courtroom battles put in jeopardy whether the official voting ballot would be ready in time for absentee voting to begin. But after working through the weekend, the Secretary of State's office did make the required adjustments.

Absentee voting has already started. Several voters have shown up at the Hinds County Circuit Clerk's office to make sure they were registered and knew where to vote.

"Any time you have a heightened awareness of the electoral process, it's always a positive," said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Hosemann says despite the supreme court's decision not going his way, more Mississippians are aware of what's at stake and are repared to make their vote count.

"We're proud people are paying attention," he said. "It will also help people understand as they go through the ballot."

Hinds County Circuit Clerk Barbara Dunn wouldn't say if the voter is better off with the Wicker- Musgrove race at the top of the ballot rather than lower, where Hosemann and Governor Barbour had argued it should in order to differentiate the special-election race from the general-election races.

"We expect a large amount of people to come out, whether it's congressional or not," said Dunn.

But Dunn did believe the fight over top or bottom probably turned voters off.

"It could get them where they say, 'I'm tired of hearing this. What does this mean? This is ridiculous,' and they may not vote at all," said Dunn.

Now that the race will be at the top, some Mississippians not voting could be the worst result once everything is said and done.

The final day of absentee voting is Saturday, November 1, three days before the election. Overseas ballots must be mailed by October 4.

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