Casting a ballot in Mississippi will look different in November

Casting a Mississippi ballot will look different in November

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - State and county leaders are reminding voters the ballot for the November 3rd election is long and has several initiatives including for the State Flag.

Everyone we talked with says voters should prepare for long lines November 3rd.

Secretary of State Michael Watson said, “One of the things that I think was very helpful that the legislature did is they took the cap off the number of poll managers. So now we can have more poll managers at our bigger precincts which will allow things to move a little bit quicker. They also gave us some pandemic pay so we can pay our poll workers and Election Commissioners more on Election Day.”

Tonya Rivers, Chair of Rankin County Election Commission said, “Be patient and know you’re going to have to wait in line more than likely. I would go, if you’ve got to go during business hours, lunch is not going to be your best bet. I would try to go after work when you don’t have to be back at work and if you have a valid excuse for absentee and you don’t always exercise it, you might want to think about it.”

Every voter should also study sample ballots for their county to make sure they are familiar with each race and the initiatives. There are three.

State and county leaders are encouraging voters to study sample ballots before they go to the polls.
State and county leaders are encouraging voters to study sample ballots before they go to the polls. (Source: MS Secretary of State)

Anita Wray, Madison County Circuit Clerk said, “They can be confusing sometimes, so that’s why I recommend that the voters be sure that they educate themselves on it and know what the initiative is about.”

Secretary of State Michael Watson says Mississippi is ready and prepared even for bad actors.

Watson said, “The talk was about Russia after 2016 - now we’re looking more toward maybe Iran and China as bad actors. And it’s just really more being prepared, not that we’re seeing something.”

The Secretary of State’s office has also provided Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for precincts.

“Another thing that we did was make sure we’re gonna have pens and/or styluses depending on what type of machines you vote on, so you won’t have to use a pen somebody else just used. And you can take it with you. So we don’t have an I voted, instead of an I voted sticker this year, you’ll get an I voted pen or an I voted stylus. So, again, everything that we could think of that would prepare both our poll workers and voters to know this is going to be a safe experience. We’re looking out for you”, Watson said.

There will be shield guards at each precinct and voters will be required to remove masks just long enough to verify identity.

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