Sheriff investigating possible theft at Hinds Co. Election Commission headquarters

Published: May. 19, 2022 at 1:25 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Authorities are investigating a potential theft at the Hinds County Election Commission headquarters.

Sheriff Tyree Jones says hundreds of items associated with the use of the county’s voting machines were reported missing from the Commerce Street office earlier this week.

The news comes less than a month before the June 7 party primaries.

Election officials say they will still have enough equipment to ensure each precinct receives one voting machine for people to vote in those races.

Deputies did a report earlier this week.

“According to the people that reported it, there were a couple of hundred extension cords missing, which were used for the voting machines, as well as the USB cards that go into the voting machines,” Jones said. “Right now, it’s being investigated as theft of county equipment.”

USB cards collect data from the paper ballots once they are scanned into the machines.

The sheriff said there were no signs of forced entry at the facility and surveillance video did not pick up any activity.

“We’re trying to confirm if the video equipment has been tampered with,” he said. “It seems suspicious because it was not a burglary that occurred. It could possibly be someone that had access to the facility.”

Jones says it’s not clear what day the items went missing. Commissioners believe it occurred late last week. There was no evidence the voting machines themselves had been tampered with.

The sheriff did not know the dollar value for the missing items.

Commission Chair Shirley Varnado said the commission is reordering new cords and will be reordering new USB cards.

She said the primaries are run by the political parties, and that both parties agreed that for June 7, one machine would be sufficient at each polling place.

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