Paper ballots likely to be used in June’s GOP runoff

Published 12:16 pm Monday, April 13, 2020

Voters going to the polls June 23 for the Republican congressional runoff election will cast their vote using paper ballots.

The Warren County Board of Supervisors is expected to pass a resolution approving using paper ballots for the runoff when they meet April 20. The resolution is also expected to only apply to the June 23 election.

Warren County Election Commission chairman Sara Dionne said the paper ballots were requested to reduce the potential of infection by the COVID-19 virus.

“The main concern was to find a way that would reduce the spread of germs,” she said. “We’re not sure what the situation will be in June, but we had to order the paper ballots by the end of April, so we decided to use paper ballots.

“We are following state law,” she said. “The law allows the use of paper ballots in emergencies.”

The state’s Election Code says election commissioners may conduct special and municipal elections, as well as any necessary runoff elections, by paper ballot with the supervisors’ approval.

Dionne said paper ballots are used every election for absentee voting, affidavit ballots and curbside voting.

“Using a touch screen scanner and a voter access card that is handed to voters, returned, and then given to another voter can be an easy way to spread germs between voters,” she said. “It’s safer to use a paper ballot and put it in a box. The voter would sign in and the precinct captain will hand them a ballot, they would mark it and put it in the box.”

She said the ballots would be scanned just like the absentee ballots.

When the returns are counted depends, Dionne said, on the COVID-19 situation in June. If possible, she said, the votes will be counted election night.

If not, “We will wait 48 hours and would probably have the returns by Friday,” she said. “I want to remind people that this election is a Republican runoff for Congress. If you voted as a Democrat in the first primary, you cannot vote in this election. We will not allow crossover voting.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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