Sec. of state addresses election concerns

Published: Aug. 4, 2011 at 7:47 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2011 at 9:07 PM CDT
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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - As the political dust begins to settle from Tuesday's primary elections, state leaders are having to deal with what didn't go so smoothly.

"We have some issues that I was not pleased with," said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

From precincts not opening on time and some not at all, to polling machines just not working, Hosemann says these problems shouldn't happen.

"We had people milling around in some of these polling places and that is not what we need to be doing, not that they did anything wrong other than they're not supposed to be there," said Hosemann.

Since primary elections are controlled by political parties rather than the state, Hosemann says it's up to party leaders to make sure any potential problems are resolved before voters arrive.

"We do extensive training with them and they know what they're supposed to do. That said, we had some glitches during this primary season that I would have preferred not to," said Hosemann.

Voter confusion also played a roll when some voters realized just what a closed primary means in Mississippi, voting with just one party. Now, anyone who voted in the democratic primary can only vote in the democratic runoffs and it's the same story for the republican side.

"There are some people that want to move between different parties but that's just not going to be allowed," said Hosemann.

In dealing with some concerns, mainly absentee ballots, Hosemann says the solution begins at the state capitol, in getting the legislature to make early voting in option in Mississippi.

Before that happens, Hosemann says the voter ID initiative on November's ballot needs to pass. Hosemann says typically counties have three or four percent in absentee ballots but some early reports are showing some counties may be at about 20 percent.

"That's very difficult to understand why you'd have that many absentee ballots in a county," said Hosemann.

Overall, Hosemann says voter turnout is about the same as it was four years ago. While the number of republican voters increased, democrats decreased, but still pulled in more overall votes.

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.