Archive for September 2008

Musgrove Looks to Green to $ave Him (& Barbour responds)

September 9, 2008

Thanks to Alan at Y’all Politics for posting the pdf showing the $2500 in-kind contribution from Ronnie Musgrove to the judge now deciding his ballot lawsuit. Musgrove’s freaking out continues. Oh, and the contributions to the judge from Scruggs and Bennie Thompson on the same page as Musgrove, well, that’s just gravy.

Meanwhile, Governor Barbour has issue a statement on the 2008 ballot:

Since 2002, two different Governors and two different Secretaries of State from both political parties have approved ballots placing special elections at the end of the ballot. When Democrats say this dispute is about politics, they are right. Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood and his surrogates continue to play politics with one of the fundamental rights we have as citizens: the right to vote.

When Democrat Eric Clark was Secretary of State, the sample ballots he prepared in 2002, 2004 and 2006 included special elections at the end of the sample ballot. In each of those years, Secretary Clark also included specific instructions to the county election commissioners that special elections should be placed at the end of the ballot. Then-Governor Ronnie Musgrove approved the 2002 sample ballot prepared by Secretary Clark. I approved the 2004 and 2006 sample ballots prepared by Secretary Clark.

Now, Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann has taken exactly the same position as his Democratic predecessor. My position on the placement of special elections on the ballot has remained the same. I approved the sample ballots prepared by Eric Clark and Delbert Hosemann, both with special elections at the end of the ballot.

So it seems the Democrats are complaining about putting the Musgrove-Wicker special election at the bottom of the ballot; but, Musgrove himself approved placement of a special election at the bottom of the ballot in 2002. The freak out continues.

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As predicted, Musgrove freaks

September 9, 2008

And scene. The Mississippi Election Commission approved the sample ballot placing the Musgrove-Wicker special election at the bottom of the ballot, where all special elections go. The left loonies are going nuts. Musgrove’s campaign is freaking out. DailyKos, the left wing standard, is carrying Musgrove’s Washington rhetoric.  Here is Musgrove’s press release as published at DK.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann today presented an unlawful sample ballot which buries the special US Senate race between Governor Ronnie Musgrove and interim US Senator Roger Wicker.  The ballot was approved by Governor Haley Barbour.

Hosemann buried the Musgrove-Wicker race below all local races near the bottom of the ballot.

Hosemann could cite no statue supporting his decision to move the race from the top of the ballot.  However, Attorney General Jim Hood did cite election law requiring federal races be placed at the top of the ballot.

“We will win this election no matter where the Secretary of State puts it on the ballot,” Tim Phillips, Musgrove for Senate campaign manager said.  “But this is about the law and they don’t get to make up their own laws.”

The unlawful ballot is expected to cause confusion for voters expecting to find the Musgrove-Wicker race with other federal elections where it belongs.  The most prominent election in the state will be one of the hardest races to find on Election Day.  

Mississippi election law, code 23-15-367, clearly states federal races, like the Musgrove-Wicker race, belong on the top of the ballot.

Unlawful sample ballot? Acting without support? Making up their own laws? It sounds like chaos! Run for the hills, the Republicans have declared martial law! The end is near. Come on guys. You’re sounding desperate. I don’t know where y’all have run other campaigns before coming to work for Ronnie Musgrove, but Mississippians are not stupid. And we prefer a higher level of discourse here.  Consider, below, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s conclusion on this matter:

The Office of Secretary of State has devoted many hours researching the ballot order for the 2008 General Election.   Our office has researched not only the applicable Mississippi statutes, but also prior opinions of the Attorney General, and minutes of prior meetings of the State Board of Election Commissioners.

According to Miss. Code Ann § 23-15-511, State statute requires all general election candidates be “clearly distinguished” from special election candidates.  In 1990, 1991, and 1992, all special elections were at the end of the ballot.  In 2002, 2004, and 2006, former Secretary of State Eric Clark stated the order of the ballot should be as follows (1) U.S. Senate, (2) U.S. House of Representatives, (3) Regular School Board and School Board Trustee elections, (4) Nonpartisan Judicial Elections, (5) Constitutional Amendments, and (6) Special Elections (other than special non partisan judicial elections).    

“Miss. Code Ann § 23-15-367 requires the Secretary of State to prepare the sample ballot.  The Governor has the right to approve the ballot,” says Secretary Hosemann.  “The Governor was presented with two ballots by the Secretary of State.  As provided by statutory law, Governor Barbour approved the sample ballot attached, clearly distinguishing the Senate Race for the unexpired term.  Mississippi voting law was followed.” 

Seventy-nine of Mississippi’s 82 counties use electronic voting machines.  If a Mississippi voter overlooks a particular race on the ballot, or simply chooses not to vote in a particular race, the voter will have to decide not to vote in that race three times before their ballot is cast.  The skipped race is clearly distinguished in red from the races in which a vote was cast, which is distinguished in blue. 

Furthermore, to address concerns of a ‘drop-off’ of voters, after reviewing the institution of electronic voting and the 2004 Federal Election and the 2007 Statewide Election, there was not a significant decrease in votes from the beginning of the ballot to the end of the ballot and in one particular race, actually increased vote totals. 

“We believe Mississippi voters are capable to read through the entire ballot.  To suggest otherwise disrespects the voter,” says Secretary Hosemann.  “The People of the State of Mississippi will determine the results of this election as they have every other election.”

Cue Musgrove Freak Out

September 8, 2008

So the Ronnie Musgrove for Senate Campaign has been in a tizzie over the order of offices on the November ballot. Last week a press release from the campaign complained that the Musgrove-Wicker special election might be placed at the bottom of the ballot (where special elections usually go) and be ignored by “tens of thousands of voters.” Musgrove’s campaign said Musgrove’s “race is the most prominent in the state” but “it may receive the least attention on Election Day.” The campaign urged Democrats to call the Secretary of State and make sure this didn’t happen. Of course, if voters choose to ignore Musgrove, that is nobody’s fault but his. Also, ain’t it funny that Musgrove wants “to change a broken system in Washington” but he insults all the local campaigns at the bottom of the ballot by acting like they are not important. He has already bought into Washington thinking. The school board members and election commissioners and judges we elect are important to our communities. Musgrove might think his is the only race of importance, but he is wrong. His Washington DC campaign staff wants him at the top of the ballot to take advantage of what they are hoping will be an Obama turnout, but Sid Salter suggests that might not happen anyway.

Hey Washington guys! In Mississippi, being at the bottom doesn’t mean it isn’t important. We put our Constitutional amendments at the bottom (like Defense of Marriage). Our Constitution is more important than any candidate.

An agenda for tomorrow’s State Election Commission meeting (Gov Barbour, Secretary Hosemann, AG Hood) shows the following meeting items: 1) Call to Order 2) Approval of minutes 3) Wilkinson County registrar 4) Review and approval of General Election candidate qualifications (President, Senate, Congressional, Judicial) 5) Review and approval of Special Election candidate qualifications (Senate, Judicial) 6) Approval of names on Sample Ballot 7) Adjournment

We already know what Jim Hood thinks. Stay tuned to see how this shakes out. Maybe they’ll be at the top; maybe at the bottom….