“Mississippi Republicans who have struggled long and hard to get a Voter ID bill passed only to be backstabbed when in sight of victory.”
“Mississippi Republicans who have struggled long and hard to get a Voter ID bill passed only to be backstabbed when in sight of victory.”
Sens. Merle Flowers of Southaven, Joey Fillingane of Sumrall and Billy Hewes of Gulfport and Lt. Governor Phil Bryant should be ASHAMED! Political posturing and gamesmanship is not acceptable when it comes to something as important as Voter ID.
We were so close and then we killed it? What gives?
Hosemann upset over failed voting bills
By TERRY L. JONES and EMMA JAMES
Editor’s note: This is a corrected version of the story.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann is still disappointed that members of his Republican Party killed voter identification and early voting bills during the legislative session, he said Friday.
“It was an uneducated, knee-jerk, local reaction to what has obviously been successful in virtually every other Southern state,” Hosemann told the Hattiesburg American editorial board.
With the killing of the bills this legislative session, Hosemann said the state, “lost the opportunity to stop absentee ballot fraud and assisting voter fraud.”
He said the state also missed an opportunity to get past some of the racial battles that have torn the state.
“It means we’re going to spend a whole year or two more ripping scab off things we’ve been trying to put to bed for 50 years,” he said.
The election reform bills were killed last month by Sens. Merle Flowers of Southaven, Joey Fillingane of Sumrall and Billy Hewes of Gulfport.
Hosemann, who also spoke earlier Friday to the Area Development Partnership’s First Friday, said he believes Mississippi will have voter ID and early voting in the near future.
State Rep. Toby Barker, R-Hattiesburg, who attended the ADP meeting, said he shared Hosemann’s disappointment.
“It seemed like very petty reasons caused voter ID to fail,” Barker said. “Everything was in the right place at the right time and it fell through because personal agendas got in the way.”
Hosemann also introduced a wide-ranging agenda for next year that encompasses issues from land management to business law during both of his appearances Friday.
Topping the list is the establishment of business courts in the state. Hosemann hopes to start up at least three pilot programs in Gulfport, Jackson and north Mississippi next year.
Hosemann said the purpose of the business court is to expedite settling lawsuits between companies.
“It’s too expensive,” Hosemann said. “When two companies are fighting it out, they can’t get loans because of a lawsuit hanging over their heads. It holds up business.”
Limited liability laws are also due for an overhaul, Hosemann said, and he hopes to have a bill drafted for the legislature in December that requires limited liability companies to register with the state every year.
“Right now, we currently have more limited liability companies than we do corporations,” he said. “It’s become the way we do business. We want people to come to Mississippi to do business, and the way to do that is to have the best business laws in the country.”
Hosemann is preparing to undertake the reorganization of real property filings in the state. The first meeting of his real properties task force is slated for June 1 and will focus on finding a more standardized system for filing and public access to deeds.
“It’s a massive project, but we are hoping to have legislation drafted for December,” Hosemann said. “We want to lower filing fees and make it easier for the public to access those records.”
Hosemann said his biggest accomplishment since taking office has been the establishment of a Public Policy Department, which provides legislators with in-depth, non-partisan research on public policy.
“It’s a quantum leap forward,” Hosemann said. “Most legislators work for 90 days and then have full-time jobs to go back to. They might not have time to do research on everything that our public policy department can provide to them without a slant. That’s a huge advantage.”
Blogger John Goodman at PearlMississippiCPA has some good predictions out. We really enjoy his blog as a whole.
We are collecting blogger predictions here so we can go back and decide who gets the “ROM Pick’em award” for 2007, that will go to the blogger who most closely predicts Tomorrow’s outcome.
All that said we think that John Laid out the case for Mississippians to elect Delbert Hosemann tomorrow better than we ever could, and we have been trying since late July. Mr. Goodman is an election commissioner and understands how elections are run, we feel this gives him a unique perspective on the SOS race and so we feel that his column on the race warrants a re-post.
It is rare when a race for lower state offices has such a great contrast. Usually, it is Tweedledee versus Tweedledum. But that is not the case for the Secretary of State’s race. While I have been a very strong supporter of Secretary of State Eric Clark, perhaps one of the most honorable and decent men ever in Mississippi politics, he is not running for re-election. So the choice is between Republican Delbert Hosemann or Democrat Robert Smith.
I’m voting for Delbert Hosemann. I know him and I can tell you he is a fine person and is well-qualified for the post. He’s been active in local affairs and has been active in a lot of charitable organizations. I have listened to him on talk radio (WJNT 1180 rocks!) and he is very well-informed on election matters.
The main issue this race has is a very sharp contrast on the matter of voter ID. Hosemann is for voter ID; Smith is against it. This may shock Smith, but there is voter fraud in this state. Has he ever heard of Noxubee’s Democratic primary races? In Smith’s home county of Rankin, there were MORE votes for the liquor referendum in 1980 than there was in the Presidential race. There was a lot of talk of voter fraud, but nothing was ever done.
In the Laurel Leader Call of October 7, 2007, Smith said voter ID would stop people from voting. He said he was most concerned about elderly people voting in 2008 due to possible re-registration due to party affiliation. In the Hattiesburg American of September 19, 2007, Smith also stated many older black Mississippians say providing voter identification is a reminder of the Civil Rights Era when the state used poll taxes to keep blacks from voting.
Delbert Hosemann has responded that he has encountered very little opposition to voter ID. In the Biloxi Sun Herald he has stated he would make certain nobody would be left out from voting. He said 97% of the people in the state have a driver’s license. As for the other three percent, he would find some other form of identification for them. In the Laurel Leader Call of September 29, 2007, Hosemann said he would lead the fight to pass a state constitutional amendment voter ID program, which would ensure only citizens would vote.
Smith has also come up with a plan to bring all the circuit clerks and county election commissioners together and come up with a better plans and various plans to conduct elections. Newsflash Smith: HAVA (Help America Vote Act) throws cold water on such plans to conduct different modes of voting in various counties. You can’t use lever machines and punch card machines. 492 people CANNOT be in charge of elections (82 circuit clerks and 410 election commissioners). You can’t have different counties have different voting systems and performance levels. There is only one boss: The Secretary of State. If different counties have different voting systems, the Secretary of State can be hauled into Federal court for violating the equal protection clause. Has Smith even READ HAVA? When the county clerk messes up (and that has been known to happen), the citizens will be calling the Secretary of State’s office–not the circuit clerk.
(I’m a municipal election commissioner and I can tell you that office has radically changed since HAVA took effect. Other than conducting elections (not primaries–only general elections), the municipal election commissioners don’t do a thing. Before HAVA, we used to meet at least three times a year to clean up the voter rolls. Under HAVA, we can no longer do that.)
Smith has no plans for bringing Mississippi up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act. He has gone on record saying we should have BOTH electronic and paper ballots for the voter to choose between. Is this guy NUTS? As an election commissioner, that would be total chaos. It is a recipe for disaster and total confusion. Does Rob Smith know ANYTHING about how an election is run? Is he ignorant or just plain stupid?
Smith is also not a friendly person. I have had people tell me he is cold and caustic when they dealt with him when he was in the State Senate. I’ve talked to him in the past and found him to be a cold, aloof individual. What happens when he has to deal with angry voters if he puts some of his nutty ideas into effect (If the Feds don’t stop him.)? Is he going to flip them off?
Hosemann is intelligent, friendly, well-informed, witty and a very hard worker. I know he will do an excellent job and continue the great work Secretary of State Eric Clark has done.
The choice is so easy even a caveman can do it: Please vote for Republican Delbert Hoseman for Secretary of State on November 6th.
We will be liveblogging most of the day tomorrow, we are interested in voting irregularities that you folks see out there.
We are getting some stories in already but if you experience any fraud please email us at rightofmississippi (at) gmail.com
Circuit Judge Frank Vollor of Vicksburg has thrown out Coahoma County Sheriff Andrew Thompson Jr.’s victory in the Aug. 7th Democratic Primary and called for for the governor to order a runoff between Thompson and Friars Point Police Chief Charles Jones.
Vollor, who presided over a hearing Oct. 26 in Coahoma County Circuit Court, ruled Friday that “all of the absentee ballots (from the Aug. 7 primary) should be disqualified” because of the illegal ballots included in the absentee vote.”
“It is impossible to segregate the illegal votes from the legal votes,” Vollor said, referring to Harpole v. Kemper County Democratic Executive Committee, Mississippi 2005.
Jones filed a complaint with the office of Coahoma County Circuit Court following the Aug. 7 election in which Thompson received 50.16 votes to Jones’ 32.08 percent of the votes.
Jones contended that more than 100 absentee ballots had not been properly witnessed and signed.
During the Oct. 26 hearing, Vollor called for the ballots. Once Vollor looked at each ballot individually he declared 124 ballots had not been signed to validate the votes.
Vollor studied the matter at length during the past week. His other option, a much simpler decision, would have been to affirm the election results.
Thompson and his attorney, Ellis Pittman, argued that since fraud had not been alleged or proven, the number of illegal votes counted although more than the 11-vote margin by which Thompson was declared the winner in August.
Thompson argued that the illegal votes should “approach a percentage of the total vote in the proximity of 30 percent.”
Vollor did not buy the contention from Thompson and Pittman.
Vollor said since nearly one-fourth of the absentee ballots were illegal, “this is a total departure from the fundamental provisions of the election code and there is no way to determine for whom these illegal votes were cast.”
The Coahoma County Democratic Executive Committee had certified the results from August as being proper, declaring Thompson the winner by a scant 11 votes (50.16 percent). There were five candidate opposing Thompson’s re-election to a sixth four-year term.
Vollor said Thompson’s argument would have had merit if he had also won a majority at the polls.
The question then would have been whether the percentage of the absentee votes disqualified to the total vote cast still required a special question.
Richard “Flip” Phillips, the main attorney representing Jones, said after Vollor’s ruling:
“I am convinced Charles Jones represents the future of the Mississippi Delta,” Phillips said. “He is an honest, hard-working young man who believes a better way of life is ahead for Coahoma County residents.
“He wants to aggressively address the gang and crime problems that stand in the way of that better life,” Phillips said. “A growing majority of Coahoma County citizens are sharing his view.”
Assisting Phillips during the protracted legal work getting the case to fruition was Parker Still.
Both are members of a Batesville law firm.
Parker is the city attorney for Batesville.
Phillips said working the case brought inspiration to Parker and him as they look to the vision of change in Northwest Mississippi.
“This is the new face of the Mississippi Delta,” he said.
©Clarksdale Press Register 2007
I am just going to keep posting this stuff as long as the Democrats continue to try and tell me that there is no voter fraud in Mississippi.
Once again and this is VERY SIMPLE:
Barbour, Bryant, & Hosemann will fight voter fraud
Eaves, Franks & Smith refuse to acknowledge the problem and will do nothing to protect your vote.
Article published Nov 4, 2007
Moving toward voter ID
Give me your name, age, address and sign this book. That’s it. That’s all the information election workers can ask voters right now in Mississippi.
That could change if proponents of Mississippi voter ID get their way.
The move to having voters show an ID before touching the screen or marking a ballot is picking up steam.
At least three rulings this year moved the state further along the path toward statewide election reforms that could include a voter identification program.
Voter ID was a lukewarm issue in this year’s legislative session, during which several bills were introduced but never passed both houses.
But the issue is anything but lukewarm to state Sen. Joey Fillingane. For eight years, he’s proposed voter ID legislation. Critics won out every time.
“They said there was no evidence of fraud anywhere in the state,” Fillingane said.
That changed in October when a judge found evidence of voting irregularities in the August Democratic primary for circuit clerk in Jefferson Davis County. Clint Langley challenged the results of his narrow loss to Nadine Thompson.
Circuit Judge Forrest Johnson of Natchez found at least 26 cases of voting irregularities, including one instance where a dead man purportedly voted and another one where someone who was hospitalized in an adjoining county cast a vote. It was enough evidence to throw out the results of the Democratic primary for circuit clerk.
“Clearly now we have a documented case in Jefferson Davis County where you have deceased persons voting and folks who were not in the county voting,” said Fillingane, who represents Jefferson Davis County in the Senate.
Two federal judges also weighed in on the issue this summer.
In June, U.S. District Judge Allen Pepper of Cleveland ordered the state to require voters to declare a party affiliation, re-register and vote using a photo ID system for the 2008 party primaries. The ruling, which is being appealed, came in response to a Mississippi Democratic Party lawsuit filed in May 2006 to prevent Republicans from voting in Democratic primaries.
Next came a case from Noxubee County in which U.S. District Judge Tom Lee of Jackson found that the Democratic Executive Committee and its chairman, Ike Brown, had violated the voting rights of white residents by using his position on the committee to influence the election. Brown had hired notaries who went into the community, gave black voters absentee ballots and encouraged them to vote for preferred candidates.
Fillingane’s opponent on Tuesday, Constitution Party candidate Vince Thornton of Collins, said a voter ID program should not be tied to a national identification program that allows the government to better track individuals.
“I’m not opposed to an ID to vote, but it shouldn’t require us to create a Nazi-like government state to live in,” Thornton said. “I don’t want dead people voting, but if the solution is worse than the problem…. I would live with a few dead people voting if it means giving up my liberties.”
Fillingane’s Democratic opponent, Gerald Buffington, did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment.
Candidates on reform
The secretary of state oversees elections in Mississippi. Democrat Rob Smith and Republican Delbert Hosemann are running for the open seat in Tuesday’s election, and both support voter reform.
But they have different takes on voter ID.
“Being on the campaign trail from February to now, I kept hearing people tell me story after story in county after county how voter fraud needs to be cleaned up,” Hosemann said in a telephone interview last week.
As a result, Hosemann is proposing a voter identification program that would be augmented by early voting to reduce the number of absentee ballots going out. He also said he would increase poll worker training and certification programs to make sure elections are fair.
Smith, who does not see voter ID as a necessary component of voter reform, believes a task force of circuit clerks and election officials should come up with a comprehensive package that would encourage more voters to come to the polls.
He discussed an early voting program for senior citizens and “same-day registration, same-day vote” legislation that would encourage more people to vote. But his final proposal would not come until after the task force completes its work.
“What we’ve said from day one is that we will work with the circuit clerk to come with comprehensive voter reforms and we will look at whatever the circuit clerks bring,” he said. “That package can include everything, but at least you have experts telling you the way to run an election. You don’t just have some politician telling you one thing.”
Smith said poll workers are already allowed to ask voters to state their age and address, which can be verified in the poll books, which he said addresses the issue of people voting under others’ names.
Hosemann cites a poll conducted in late September by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm in Alexandria, Va., that shows 86 percent of Mississippians believe voter fraud is a problem in state elections while only 8 percent did not think it was a problem.
The study also shows that 97 percent of Mississippi voters possess a valid ID and nine of 10 voters would support a state voter ID law.
What others say
Voter ID is contentious for some groups – such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and AARP.
Members of state and local chapters of the NAACP have spoken out against the issue, saying it is reminiscent of a poll tax and would require more work to register and a possible fee to get proper ID.
“Voter ID is a form of poll tax and poll tax really was a sham when it came to African-Americans,” Forrest County NAACP President Clarence Magee said. “I don’t think they should put any more unnecessary requirement on people to vote. An ID card is just something else you have to keep up with.”
Many lawmakers, however, have said they would find a way to make identification cards available to voters who do not already have a driver’s license or other state-issued ID free of charge.
On the national level, the AARP has opposed voter ID because many older voters may not have a driver’s license or other identification card.
But Joe Yore, a member of Hattiesburg branch of the AARP, said it is not a concern for him.
“I think there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense why anybody would be against it. I understand the old poll tax was not good but there is absolutely no reason they can’t give someone an ID if they don’t have a driver’s license.”
Incumbent Rep. Ken Morgan, who represents a small part of Jeff Davis County and is running against O.K. “Kenny” Moore, said he is a firm believer in voter ID.
“If what’s happening in Jeff Davis County is not an eye-opener to people who didn’t believe in voter ID before, I don’t know what will be,” he said. “It’s no different than having a Social Security card. It is something I am going to be in favor of 110 percent.”
Moore did not return telephone calls.
Question: Why would anyone ever really oppose requiring some form of identification in order to vote in Mississippi???
Answer: Because it makes it harder for them to cheat!!!
Ike Brown and Election Thieves in Jefferson Davis County, Benton County and Tunica NEED you to vote for Rob Smith, Rob will be the kind of PUSHOVER, DO NOTHING Secretary of State that the Ike Brown’s of the world dream about.
Ike Brown and Rob Smith will work together as a team to make sure that every deceased Mississippian can still vote Democrat.
Why Rob Smith is Wrong…
1. Rob Smith denies that voter fraud is a problem in Mississippi.
2. Ike Brown is voting for Rob Smith for Secretary of State (that alone should disqualify him)
3. Rob Smith’s plan for election reform is ILLEGAL. (according to the U.S. Supreme Court)
4. Rob Smith has voted AGAINST protecting the voting rights of the U.S. Military.
5. Elections run by Rob Smith will be a chaotic and fraud ridden free-for-all with NO IDENTIFICATION and SAME DAY REGISTRATION overloading YOUR polling location with ILLEGAL voters from out of state.
Make no mistake about it, there will be votes bought and stolen next Tuesday and every single fraudulent vote will be marked for Rob Smith for Secretary of State, many of them in Ike Brown’s handwriting.