The Jones County, Mississippi slogan is “A Great Place to Live”. While they may or may not be true, I’ve never been there, it’s clearly not a great place to vote. At least if voting in a way that is verifiably accurate for the citizenry is something one might care about. A remarkable statement by the county’s Circuit Clerk, and a unanimous decision in support of it by the County’s Board of Supervisors this week has made that as clear as can be.
You may recall that just last week, e-voting system failures — such as, as e-voting machines that wouldn’t start up at all, and votes that were counted twice — led to chaos and uncertain results in Mississippi’s state primaries, leading one official to declare days afterward, as they were all struggling to sort out results of several close elections: “At this point there is no election…Everyone is baffled.”
Against that back drop then, behold what Jones County, MS Circuit Clerk Bart Gavinis now calling for — and receiving unanimous approval from the Jones County Board of Supervisors for(!) — as irresponsibly reported without even a hint of fact-checking by Laurel Leader-Call reporter Charlotte Graham under the laughably misleading headline “Improving the voting process” [emphasis added].
The Jones County Board of Supervisors approved the removal of printers from the county’s voting machines at the request of Jones County Circuit Clerk Bart Gavin at Monday’s board meeting in Laurel. Gavin told supervisors the printers are defective and have often slowed up the voting process.
“Removing the printers will make it easy for the precinct and poll workers to open up at 7 a.m.,” said Gavin. “At 7 a.m. on voting day, all machines need to be up and running. “The poll worker, bless their hearts,” he added. “We can go over things with them and they still mess up. This way they won’t have to go in and put in paper to print out results. They will only use what’s recorded in the computer.”
Before the vote, District Five Supervisor Jerome Wyatt questioned whether it was lawful to remove the printers. He said, as he recalled, the printers were authorized by the U.S. Justice Department compelled the state to use them to make sure votes and results could not be comprised [sic].
According to Gavin, the printed ballots were not a stipulation now. He said the voting machines record every vote and there is no way for them to be tampered with.
Gavin also told supervisors he has correspondence from state officials saying it is OK to do away with the printers. He added that other counties have removed them and are saving money as a result.