After officials admitted to breaking state election law during the Nov. 4 general election, the Hinds County Election Commission is now on the radar of federal, state and local agencies. In late November, the Jackson chapter of the NAACP quietly filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department after numerous voters reported being disenfranchised because of ballot shortages at multiple precincts during the election. When questioned by The Clarion-Ledger about the shortages in November, Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Connie Cochran admitted that the commission broke state election laws by failing to order the required number of ballots “to save the county some money.” “We took a look at all the options and decided to file the complaint,” said Wayne McDaniels, president of the Jackson NAACP chapter. “We’re also waiting to hear back from the (Hinds County) district attorney’s office.” Mississippi state law requires election commissioners to order enough ballots for 75 percent of registered voters to cast votes.
In Hinds County, there are 155,912 registered voters, so the total number of printed ballots required by law was 116,934. For the Nov. 4 election, Cochran said she had only 58,350 ballots on hand — less than half of what was required by law.
After Cochran made the admission, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, led by District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham, ordered a county investigation into the actions of the commission.
Graham has claimed multiple times that the botched election process was racially motivated and said in November that “Medgar Evers would roll over in his grave” if the board did not vote to investigate the process.