Warren County votes yes for 42, measure fails statewide vote

Published 10:09 am Thursday, November 5, 2015

Warren County saw 11,398 citizens fulfill their civic duty at the polling places Tuesday, but at 41.5% of the county’s registered voters, this number is still abysmal.

Warren County Election Commission chairman Sara Carlson Dionne said Tuesday saw the highest turnout for any election all year.

“It was a busy day,” she said. “For an election here it was a good turnout, but we’re always disappointed more people don’t turn out.”

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The main issue bringing people to the polls statewaide was the initiative measure 42, a constitutional amendment dealing with educational funding.

State Representative Alex Monsour said the people have spoken on the issue.

“They decided they didn’t want the judiciary making the decisions for them, they want their elected officials they send to Jackson making the decisions for them,” he said. “Everybody agrees that we need to do as much as we can for education, including us, with the dollars that we have, and when we go back in there we need to find out a better way and a formula to work the education dollars. We’re getting closer and closer every year. Our goal is to fully fund education, but we only have so many dollars and we have to fund every agency.”

Although the measure failed statewide, the people of Warren county voted for approval of an educational initiative measure with 5,643 votes (52.5 percent). When asked which initiative they would prefer, 5,378 votes (64.7 percent) were cast for initiative 42, and 2,931 votes (35.2 percent) were cast for initiative 42A.

“I was talking to people all day (Tuesday), and honestly, there was a lot of confusion,” Monsour said. “People didn’t really understand exactly what was happening with this thing. I think a lot of information was out there that a lot of people didn’t understand how they would be left out of the process completely if 42 had passed. I think we needed to put out a better message about it.”

42 For Better Schools co-managers Jonathan Compretta and Michael Rejebian wrote in an email to The Vicksburg Post that unlike a typical political election, Tuesday night’s vote ended with no winner.

“Of the approximately 640,000 Mississippi voters who cast ballots on Tuesday — one of the lowest turnouts in state history — only about 25,000 more people voted against the amendment than voted for it,” they wrote. “So no matter who claims “victory,” our Legislature must now heed the call to do more to improve our public schools. Either that, or simply ignore the wishes of more than 300,000 of their citizens.”

Overall, Dionne said the election ran very smoothly across Warren County.

“Working with our new circuit clerk Jan Daigre is a pleasure,” she said. “Everything is very planned and we have a process that works very well. We got the results a lot faster too.”

Looking forward, Dionne said it’s never too early to start preparing for future elections.

“We have a presidential contest March 8 that will include other contests as well, so do your homework on all that,” she said. “If you do move or have a change of address please come to the circuit clerk’s office or send it in the mail so you can vote on a machine and not on an affidavit ballot.