Number of counties switching to paper ballots growing
Published 3:07 pm Monday, December 9, 2019
Last week, the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a process that would transition the county from the use of digital, touch-screen computers for elections back to the use of paper ballots.
The move adds Lafayette County to a growing number of counties in Mississippi that have chosen to return to paper ballots.
Of Mississippi’s 82 counties, 12 have returned to paper ballots, according to Lowe. With most of the 12 being some of the larger counties, such as Hinds, Harrison, Madison and DeSoto, the number makes up nearly half the voting population in the state.
As for Warren County, the idea of moving back to the use of paper ballots is one that local election officials are gathering information on.
“Any change in the way we handle elections would have to be a recommendation from the Election Commission and then approved by the Board of Supervisors,” Warren County Election Commission Chairperson Sara Carlson Dionne said. “That said, I have started taking notes on what it would take in order to have a discussion when the new Board of Supervisors are in place early next year.”
Dionne said she and other election officials are scheduled to meet in Philadelphia in January for their annual meeting, where vendors will be on hand demonstrating the equipment available for paper balloting, along with digital systems.
By no means is any change coming soon, as the county has digital equipment in place and agreements to maintain the equipment. But, Dionne said, it’s time to start looking ahead.
“Our equipment is 10 years old and does have a life span,” Dionne said. “We have complete confidence in our maintenance agreement and all of our equipment is in good shape, but there is a need to start looking at the next investment.”
While the county’s election machines might still be warm from November’s general election, they will be called upon soon.
Campaigns for March’s party primaries — which will include the heavily-contested race for the Democratic Party primary for President — is set for March 10.
The deadline to register for those not yet registered to vote and who want to take part in the primary is Monday, Jan. 27.
Other important dates on the 2020 election calendar include the qualifying period for those seeking to run for the District 3 and District 4 seats on the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees. That qualifying period opens Aug. 5 and closes Sept. 4. Those races will be on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.