Instead of spending county-appropriated money on the required number of ballots for Hinds County residents to vote in multiple elections, the Hinds County Election Commission purchased a new absentee vote counting machine. While county officials said Tuesday the purchase of the machine was approved by both the county budget office and the board of supervisors, many residents were unable to vote Nov. 4 because of a shortage in ballots. The Hinds County Board of Supervisors asked county attorneys Monday to investigate the actions of Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Connie Cochran after she admitted to not ordering the number of ballots required by state law for any of the past four county-wide elections. In defense, Cochran said she was “just trying to save the county money.”
During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, Cochran did save her department money by not printing the required number of ballots – at least $30,000 over the course of the year’s four county-wide elections. However, at the end of the fiscal year, the election commission went over their total budgeted appropriation and did not save the county money. When contacted for this story, Cochran, who has been readying her department for next week’s runoff, said she “didn’t have time to deal with it” and hung up the phone.
For the Nov. 4 election, Cochran ordered 58,350 ballots, spending about $14,500 less than what she would have spent had she ordered the required total. For the June 3 Senate primary, Cochran ordered 75,800 ballots, saving her department about $10,000.
It is unclear how much money was saved for two other elections, the Nov. 2013 Board of Supervisors election and the June Senate runoff election, but Cochran said Monday she did not order the required number of ballots for either election.
Full Article: Unused Hinds ballot money paid for counting machine.