SURRATT: I no longer have to vote long distance

Published 4:00 am Friday, October 21, 2022

Last week, I received some wonderful news from the Warren County Election Commission.

Thanks to the boundary changes made through redistricting, I no longer have to drive halfway to Claiborne County to vote.

I know that’s going to leave some of you folks scratching your heads or twisting your face in some contorted fashion, so I’ll explain. I live in the extreme southern part of Vicksburg, and I’m in Supervisor District 4. Until receiving my notice of the change, when I went to cast a ballot in a county or statewide election I had to drive south — way south — to Yokena Presbyterian Church. This is not a criticism of Yokena residents, because it ain’t their fault.

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For some reason, that trip seemed to me to be unnecessary and a bit stupid, especially since while I was cruising along U.S. 61 South to register my vote, I passed the precinct at Immanuel Baptist Church, which is but a few miles, at the least, from my home.

And that set me to doing something dangerous — I started thinking. I was curious who came up with the idea to send a group of people from Vicksburg to Yokena instead of putting them at a closer precinct, and in my own trained-in-covering-Louisiana politics mind I figured some politician came up with the idea; I mean, someone with an ounce of common sense wouldn’t do something so boneheaded.

I’ve always believed that our government officials should make it easier for people to vote, not harder, and sending someone in Vicksburg to vote in Yokena isn’t making it easier to vote.

Neither is using different precincts for city and county elections. That’s a phenomenon I never came across until I moved to Mississippi almost 30 years ago. In Louisiana, we always voted at the same primary for all elections. The same held true when we lived in Alabama.

I’ve lived in four Mississippi counties — Lauderdale, Jackson, Pike and Warren. If I remember correctly, we voted at the same precinct for all elections in Jackson County; in every place else, we voted at one precinct for city elections and at a different precinct for everything else.

Such policies do nothing but confuse voters and cause them to get frustrated and not vote. I would think that the powers that be would make an effort to change that before the next census.

They won’t be able to do it before the next county elections, which are set for 2023. And that reminds me — we have an election coming up on Nov. 8 with the offices of chancery court, both circuit judges, county judge, the 2nd Congressional District and District 1 and District 5 seats on the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees.

So get out and cast your ballot for the candidates of your choice and then prepare for the county and state elections. The true silly season for Warren County is only a few months away.

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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