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Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann wants one word on the minds of Mississippians the next few weeks: Vote.
He and his staff are pulling out the stops to get Mississippi voters to the polls on Nov. 2 for the mid-term elections, said Hosemann during a stop in Starkville last week.
That includes a massive media blitz â print, broadcast, Internet â to raise voter interest in the general election over the next few weeks, Hosemann said. Similar voter education campaigns in recent years have seen success, he said.
This yearâs campaign will launch this week, Hosemann said.
âThese campaigns have had a positive impact, and we want to see that again this year,â said Hosemann.
âWe want to achieve the highest voter turnout statewide that weâve ever had in a year with a non-gubernatorial or non-presidential race.â
At the very least, Hosemann says, the stateâs voters owe it to the thousands of fellow Mississippians serving in the nationâs armed forces to go to the polls.
âMississippi has thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq who are serving our country so they can have the right to vote,â Hosemann said.
âWe need to honor the service of these brave men and women by getting into our cars and trucks and going to
the polls on Election Day.â
Mississippi elections are running smoother than ever, and thatâs another reason residents should plan to go the polls, Hosemann said.
âOur stateâs voting system is improving. People are getting used to using the touch-screen voting machines. The education of election officials and political party members about the process has improved dramatically,â said Hosemann.
To help minimize problems on Nov. 2, the Secretary of Stateâs Office will have staff members stationed strategically in 29 counties across the state to be able to respond to problems if needed, Hosemann said.
âThese individuals will be able to arrive at any polling place in the state within 30 minutes of receiving a call for help with a problem,â Hosemann said.
âThatâs something we started when I got hired. Weâve been in over 1,000 precincts the last two years. We can go to any one as requested by a circuit clerk or election commissioner.â
Under a recently enacted state law â a law passed with legislation he supported â the Secretary of State is required to give both houses of the Mississippi Legislature a complete report on how statewide elections were conducted, including any problems that arose, Hosemann said.
âWe have to be able to give them hard facts on everything from the number of absentee ballots cast to problems encountered at the polls,â he said.
âThe goal is to ensure the election runs smoothly.â
More information about this yearâs election â including timetables and candidate listings â can be found by visiting the Secretary of Stateâs Office website at http://www.sos.ms.gov and clicking on the âElectionsâ link.
On the ballot in Oktibbeha County are two races (District 2 and At-Large) for the Oktibbeha County School District Board of Trustees, as well as those Circuit Court and Chancery Court judge and for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Hereâs a breakdown of the candidates in each race on the general election ballot in Oktibbeha County:
U.S. House of
â˘ Joel L. Gill, Democrat
â˘ Gregg Harper, Republican
â˘ Tracella Lou OâHara Hill, Reform Party.
Chancery Court Judge
14th Chancery District
â˘ Kenneth M. Burns
â˘ Jim Davidson
â˘ Dorothy W. Colom
Circuit Court Judge, 16th Circuit District
â˘ James T. âJimâ Kitchens
â˘ William Starks
â˘ Lee J. Howard
â˘ Lee S. Coleman
â˘ Bob Marshall
â˘ Nebra Porter
Oktibbeha County School District
Board of Trustees
District 2 Seat
â˘ Curtis Snell
â˘ Marvin L. Williams
â˘ Melvin Harris
â˘ Yvette Rice
Absentee voting for the general election is under way.
For more information about absentee voting for this yearâs election, the Circuit Clerkâs Office may be reached by calling 323-1356 during regular business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) Monday to Friday.
The office is located in the Oktibbeha County Courthouse Annex on West Main Street.