Hinds County

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Mississippi: NAACP filed federal complaint against Hinds election commission | Clarion-Ledger

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.

Full Article: NAACP filed federal complaint against Hinds election commission.

Mississippi: Hinds County to pay attorney to defend Election Commission | Clarion-Ledger

Hinds County will pay for a lawyer to defend the Election Commission in a lawsuit filed over its failure to order the number of ballots required by state law. But the vote the Board of Supervisors took Monday to do so did not come come without rancor. Jackson attorney Ali Shamsiddeen, who lost the Hinds County circuit judge race by about 4,000 votes to incumbent judge Jeff Weill, filed the lawsuit Nov. 24, claiming the commission’s actions affected the outcome of the election. District 1 Supervisor Robert Graham, who was not present at Monday’s board meeting, suggested Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Connie Cochran should have to pay the legal fees herself.

Full Article: Hinds to pay attorney to defend Election Commission.

Mississippi: Hinds election chief broke law, she admits | Jackson Clarion-Ledger

Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Connie Cochran admitted Tuesday that she broke the law by not ordering the required number of ballots for last week’s general election. Cochran also said that election officials were still tallying affidavits and absentee ballots, and the Hinds County election results would likely not be certified until Friday — the maximum 10 days after the election, as set forth by state law. The secretary of state’s office confirmed that 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. Last week, Cochran said she only had 58,350 ballots on hand — less than half of what was required by law.

Full Article: Hinds election chief broke law, she admits.

Mississippi: Hinds County election official takes blame for ballot shortage | WAPT

A Hinds County election commissioner is taking the blame after several polling places ran out of ballots on election night. Election officials said 35 to 40 polling locations in Hinds County ran out of paper ballots before the polls closed at 7 p.m. “I usually zip right in and right out, but not tonight. I’m going to sit here until I vote,” voter Susanna Green said Tuesday night. “Most of these people are taking it very nicely. They are, as you can see, sitting around waiting for the ballots to show up,” said poll worker Sandy Wilkerson. Connie Cochran, the District 4 election commissioner, apologized Wednesday to voters who were inconvenienced. Scores of voters were forced to stand in line, some for more than an hour, waiting for more ballots to be brought in. 

Full Article: Hinds County election official takes blame for ballot shortage | Politics - WAPT Home.

Mississippi: Hinds County GOP Chair: only 300 to 350 questionable votes | Clarion-Ledger

Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry on Tuesday said only 300 to 350 questionable votes were found as the Chris McDaniel and Thad Cochran campaigns scoured records of more than 25,000 votes cast in the county in their primary runoff. Perry said he believes McDaniel’s claims of 1,500 or more potentially illegal votes — and voter fraud — in Hinds County has been “debunked.” “I guess inflation occurs in campaigns with numbers just as it does with egos,” Perry said at a press conference at the county courthouse Tuesday. McDaniel and his campaign have claimed there were widespread irregularities and voter fraud in Hinds County and statewide. They appear to be working toward a legal challenge of the runoff. Six-term incumbent U.S. Sen. Cochran defeated McDaniel in the runoff by 7,667 votes, winning 51 percent of more than 382,000 votes statewide.

Full Article: Perry: Hinds voting 'debunked', McDaniel set to talk Wed.

Mississippi: Hinds County Republican Party Chairman: Mistakes were made, but no voter fraud found | Clarion-Ledger

Hinds County Republican Party chairman Pete Perry said Friday morning that examples of voter fraud cited by the tea party and Chris McDaniel’s campaign are simple clerical errors that were fixed. Since Tuesday’s runoff, Hinds County has been the epicenter of voter fraud allegations leveled by McDaniel and his supporters. Thursday night, McDaniel himself told a national television show that a review of some of the poll books from Hinds County turned up more than 1,000 instances where Democrats had voted in that party’s primary June 3 and illegally crossed over to vote in the GOP runoff Tuesday. Poll workers were trained extensively to prevent such crossover voting, Perry said. Hinds County’s Republican and Democratic parties switched poll books so poll workers could cross-reference voters to ensure they did not vote in the Democratic primary June 3 before giving them GOP ballots Tuesday.

Full Article: Perry: Mistakes were made, but no voter fraud found.

Mississippi: Why Was Miss. Tea Partier In Locked Courthouse With Ballots On Election Night? | TPM

A Mississippi tea party official with close ties to U.S. Senate candidate Chris McDaniel apparently ended up inside a locked and empty county courthouse late Tuesday night after primary election results had come in. Hinds County Republican executive chairman Pete Perry told TPM that he received a phone call around 2:00 a.m. CT on Wednesday from Janis Lane, president of the Central Mississippi Tea Party, who said she was locked inside the Hinds County courthouse. That would be where the circuit clerk and election commission offices, and the primary election ballots, are located. The incident seemed to mystify Perry, a supporter of Sen. Thad Cochran, whom McDaniel is challenging for the GOP nomination. The ballots had been secured prior to the intrusion, according to local authorities.

Full Article: Why Was Miss. Tea Partier In Locked Courthouse With Ballots On Election Night?.

Mississippi: Courthouse lock-in case closed without arrests | Clarion-Ledger

The Hinds County Sheriff’s Department has concluded no criminal activity took place when three people, including a staffer for state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s U.S. Senate campaign, ended up locked inside the county courthouse hours after everyone had left following the counting of votes from Tuesday’s primaries. Scott Brewster, Janis Lane and Rob Chambers were found locked inside the courthouse early Wednesday. They allegedly entered sometime shortly after 2 a.m. and, after realizing they were locked in, called for help. A member of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors is questioning the three being alone in the building.

Full Article: Courthouse lock-in case closed without arrests.

Mississippi: Stokes: Hinds County shouldn’t pay legally mandated election costs | The Clarion-Ledger

The law says the state’s boards of supervisors must pay for all county elections. But that goes out the window, Hinds County District 5 Supervisor Kenneth Stokes says, if the election costs exceed what he believes the county can afford. He and two other board members voted to ask the Mississippi Attorney General’s office to rule on whether Hinds County has to pay, with Hinds County Election Commission members warning him that ballots by law must be printed out by Friday. Stokes’ train of thought prompted an immediate threat of a lawsuit by Hinds County Republican Executive Committee chair Pete Perry. Stokes got into a shouting match today with Perry, Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee head Jackie Norris, and the Hinds County Election Commission when he said the county doesn’t have the money to pay for primary elections in September to fill supervisor seats in Districts 2 and 4. It’s estimated that costs to run the primary will be about $67,000, and that’s after both Democratic and Republican parties sat at the table together and honed costs down from about $200,000.

Full Article: Stokes: County shouldn't pay legally mandated election costs | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

Mississippi: New Vote Machines Create Snags | Jackson Free Press

The Jackson Free Press is hearing about a number of Election Day issues that seem to be associated with the use of new voting machines. This morning, the Jackson Free Press received a tip about issues at Ward 7’s Precinct 97 in south Jackson, located at the Wahabi Shriners, 4123 Interstate 55 S. The precinct is supposed to have one voting machine to read hand-marked ballots and count the votes. The machine, which poll workers said was scheduled for delivery at 6:15 a.m., didn’t show up until 8:43 a.m., nearly two hours after the polls opened. And then it didn’t work. In April, after a months-long process, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors agreed to a $1.2 million five-year contract with Electronic Systems and Software for new voting machines. Headquartered in Omaha, Neb., ES&S also holds a contract with the Mississippi secretary of state to facilitate overseas and military voting.

Full Article: New Vote Machines Create Snags | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS.

Mississippi: Hinds County voters to use new optical screening machines this fall | The Clarion-Ledger

Hinds County this fall will use a digital voting system in which residents mark a paper ballot, but officials say that’s not a step backward. The optical scanner machines made by Omaha-based Election Systems and Software, used by the state’s 81 other counties, will replace Hinds County’s decade-old, touch-screen system. County leaders say it will make precinct check-in and voting quicker and more foolproof. But just as importantly, they say, the new process will restore confidence to a Hinds County system plagued in recent years by machine malfunctions and accusations that absentee and affidavit ballots were lost or mishandled. The machines will be delivered by July 1, not quite in time for spring municipal primaries and the June general election, but in time for any special elections in August. Jackson residents, though, will use the system via leased equipment in municipal elections this spring. “This will put you with a state-of-the-art system that exceeds many counties,” Frank Jackson, the county’s consultant for procurement and master agent with Electronic Option Services Inc., said of the $1.2 million system. “Our hope is that this project will be modeled throughout the state.

Full Article: Hinds voters this fall to use new optical screening machines | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

Mississippi: Hinds County absentee ballot status unclear | The Clarion-Ledger

Ballots for Hinds County voters who would like to vote absentee were turned over to the circuit clerk’s office Tuesday, more than a week after the state-imposed deadline, the county’s Election Commission chairman says. That, along with cards sent to some residents with incorrect voting locations, hase placed District 3 Election Commissioner Jermal Clark in hot water with county supervisors. Clark was responsible for creating the ballot and meeting a Sept. 22 deadline. When he missed it, concerns immediately were raised that Mississippi members of the military wouldn’t get their absentee ballots by the deadline of 45 days before a federal election. The series of snafus led supervisors Monday to call for a full-scale investigation. “It’s embarrassing that elected officials sworn to uphold the law … cannot work together for the good of the citizens of the county,” said District 3 Supervisor Peggy Hobson Calhoun.

Full Article: Hinds ballot status unclear | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

Mississippi: Hinds County MS absentee ballot status unclear | The Clarion-Ledger

Ballots for Hinds County voters who would like to vote absentee were turned over to the circuit clerk’s office Tuesday, more than a week after the state-imposed deadline, the county’s Election Commission chairman says. That, along with cards sent to some residents with incorrect voting locations, hase placed District 3 Election Commissioner Jermal Clark in hot water with county supervisors. Clark was responsible for creating the ballot and meeting a Sept. 22 deadline. When he missed it, concerns immediately were raised that Mississippi members of the military wouldn’t get their absentee ballots by the deadline of 45 days before a federal election. The series of snafus led supervisors Monday to call for a full-scale investigation. “It’s embarrassing that elected officials sworn to uphold the law … cannot work together for the good of the citizens of the county,” said District 3 Supervisor Peggy Hobson Calhoun.

Full Article: Hinds ballot status unclear | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

Mississippi: Week late, still no ballots for Hinds County absentee voting | The Clarion-Ledger

A week after absentee voting was supposed to start statewide, Hinds County still has no ballots for voters to exercise their rights and it’s unclear when they’ll be available. “My understanding is that the chairman of the Election Commission, Jermal Clark, who is the one charged with having the ballots prepared, ordered and printed, just hasn’t done his job,” said Pete Perry, chairman of the Hinds County Republican Party. “It should have been done around the first of September. I have been given the indication that they don’t have any idea when they might have absentee ballots.”

Full Article: Week late, still no ballots for Hinds absentee voting | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

Mississippi: Hinds County Election Commission candidates may not be on ballot | The Clarion-Ledger

Three candidates for Hinds County Election Commission, including one incumbent, failed to meet the legal requirements to run in November. All three, including District 2 Election Commissioner Bobbie Graves, said they were unaware of those requirements and are asking Hinds County supervisors to let them stay on the ballot. But if supervisors do so, it could be illegal. After an hour-plus discussion Monday, a majority of supervisors failed to approve the candidacy of all vying for the five election commissioner slots, leaving their places on the ballot in limbo. “It’s the candidate’s responsibility to know” the procedure, District 4 Supervisor Phil Fisher said. “And if the election commissioners themselves don’t know when to hand something in, what does that say about their ability to do the job?”

Full Article: Hinds Co. Election Commission candidates may not be on ballot | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

Mississippi: Hinds Election Officials At Odds Over Replacing Voting Machines | WAPT

The Democratic primary runoff is set for Tuesday. There were some issues reported during the primary election earlier this month. Hinds County Election Commissioner Connie Cochran said the only voting machine problems were at the Wynndale precinct and that was because they weren’t programmed correctly. But Cochran’s fellow commissioner, Jermal Clark, said he thinks the machines need to be replaced.

The machines were bought in 2002. The commission has $1.3 million set aside to buy new machines or upgrade them. It would cost more than that to replace them, Cochran said. Each voting machine has its own red bar code, which is the number they were programmed at the warehouse with and then sealed. During the primary election there were complaints about wrong ballots or not enough paper ballots at several precinct sites in the city.

Full Article: Hinds Election Officials At Odds Over Replacing Voting Machines - Jackson News Story - WAPT Jackson.

Mississippi: Hinds County Sheriff McMillin on race — and conceding race | WLBT 3/Jackson, MS

Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin says he won’t challenge the election results from last week’s Democratic primary. He notified the media through a press release Thursday. On Friday, WLBT News got an exclusive interview with the outgoing sheriff.

McMillin has a history of making colorful remarks. His press release actually had some comments on color, directed at his opponent. McMillin says he will not challenge the votes, because he doesn’t believe examining them would make any difference, due to the problems in the election.

Full Article: Sheriff McMillin on race -- and conceding race - WLBT 3 - Jackson, MS:.

Mississippi: Hinds Dems close vote certification meeting | The Clarion-Ledger

Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee Chairman Claude McInnis is not allowing reporters in the committee’s meeting this evening on whether to certify the results from the Aug. 2 primary. McInnis turned away a Clarion-Ledger reporter at the door, saying news media would not be allowed. Asked why, he said, “because we have so desired it.”

The 18-member committee is facing criticism and scrutiny in the face of election-day snafus and a post-election ballot count fraught with problems. The committee is meeting at the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, 612 N. State St. in Jackson, to vote on certifying the results. Incumbent Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin will not address today as planned whether he’ll contest his loss to Tyrone Lewis in the Aug. 2 Democratic primary.

Full Article: Hinds Dems close vote certification meeting | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com.

Mississippi: Secretary of State Looks To Fix Election Problems | WAPT Jackson

Election officials said Tyrone Lewis avoided a runoff against Sheriff Malcolm McMillin by a slim margin. Lewis received 50.79 percent of the vote to McMillin’s 45.15 percent. Lewis will become Hinds County’s new sheriff, defeating the long-time incumbent in the primary. There are no Republicans running in the general election.

It wasn’t until late Sunday evening that Hinds County election officials released the final numbers from last week’s election. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said the Democratic and Republican parties run the primary elections, but he wants to fix some other polling problems before the November general election.