Warren among counties not reporting absentee ballot totals

Published 12:44 am Saturday, November 5, 2011

Only three of Mississippi’s counties — Warren is one of them — had failed by late Friday afternoon to report absentee balloting numbers, as requested by the Secretary of State’s Office.

Delbert Hosemann, the first-term secretary of state from Vicksburg who is unopposed in Tuesday’s county and state general elections, said he is pushing the circuit clerk in each of the state’s 82 counties to forward the numbers as soon as possible to cut out the slightest chances for fraud. He said absentee ballots have grown from 2 percent of all votes cast in 2008 to 6 percent during the August primary.

“I want to make sure people entitled by state law to have a ballot get a ballot and that the vote counts once and to keep people from casting a ballot that shouldn’t be,” Hosemann said.

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Warren County Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree said Friday she will forward the local numbers as soon as possible after the absentee voting deadline passes at noon today.

“The secretary of state has called several times,” she said. “We’ve just had a heavy abundance of it. They’ve never been interested in absentee quantities until this year.”

Ashley-Palmertree, running for a third term Tuesday with three opponents, was unable to pinpoint a specific number of absentee ballots cast for this year’s general election, but it’s likely to reach 1,000. In the run-up to the primary election Aug. 2, she reported 310 absentees cast.

Poll books were printed by an Oct. 27 deadline, she said.

On Tuesday, polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for statewide and county-level offices. In Warren County, voters will decide contested races for five countywide offices, all five seats on the Board of Supervisors and one state House race, in District 55.