Officials explain lack of Mississippi ballots - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Paranjape

Officials explain lack of Mississippi ballots

Voters  at various polling places around DeSoto County were furious with the shortage of democratic ballots for Tuesday's elections.

The reason for the shortage, may have been because of money.

Carl Payne is the election commissioner for District Four in DeSoto County.

Payne was stuck by this printer all day Tuesday. It ran non-stop, making copies of more and more democratic ballots.

"We had four deputies running, we had election commissioners running, we had democrats running, we had republicans running delivering ballots," Payne said.

Meanwhile, voters were told to wait or come back later when they had more ballots.

The voters were not happy, saying the election commission grossly misjudged the number of democratic ballots they needed.

Payne said in the 2004 presidential primary the county only used 350 ballots.

Anticipating a higher voter turnout this year, they ordered 3,000. Tuesday, more than 8,000 voters showed up.

The Election Commission then spent all day making more than 5,000 extra copies.

Payne said they didn't want to order too many ballots because at 40 cents a page, it could get costly.

In the end, they spent roughly $2,000 to make the additional 5,000 copies on Tuesday.

Payne also had a message for angry voters.

"The law says if you have a problem you get together and you do the best you can and that's what we did," Payne said.  

Payne said both of his phones were ringing off the hook from poll workers and voters. He pointed out even though it was a slow process, they did have enough ballots to go around.


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