Hosemann kicks off voter registration at MSU

Mississippi State President Mark Keenum, left, talks with Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann following a speech by Hosemann Tuesday at MSU. Hosemann visited campus to kick off a voter registration drive for National Voter Registration Day. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)

Yoised Martinez, a senior mechanical engineering major from Pascagoula registers to vote on the MSU campus Tuesday morning. A voter registration drive began Tuesday on campus, and will run until 3 p.m. Wednesday. (Photo by Charlie Benton, SDN)

Staff Writer

Students at Mississippi State University got to hear the importance of voting from the man responsible for the state’s elections Tuesday.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann visited MSU to kick off the voter registration drive being conducted on campus this week. The drive is part of National Voter Registration Day, which falls annually on the fourth Tuesday in September. Hosemann spoke to students in the Colvard Student Union ballroom and took questions from the audience.

“Today we’re here at Mississippi State, and 10 universities actually, will be signing people to register to vote today all across Mississippi,” Hosemann said. “We came to Mississippi State
University as our stop, and then we’ll go to high schools in Columbus and middle schools in New Hope. We’ll be all over, and we’ve gone to probably about 30 or 40 different schools.”

He explained the importance of the drive in making sure students were correctly registered in Oktibbeha County or their home counties.

Hosemann congratulated first-tim voters, and described government as a “three-legged stool,” with one leg representing the judicial branch, one leg representing the executive branch and the final leg representing the legislative branch.

“That three-legged stool rests on the ballot box,” Hosemann said. “If that ballot box is not full of votes, then there’s no way for the government to work.”

Hosemann also discussed votes for Mississippian military personnel serving in the Middle East. He said he had visited personnel in the past and planned to makea second trip to do so. He emphasized the point that if deployed military could vote, students should vote too. He also said college identification cards counted under the state’s voter ID laws.

“You have a right to cast a ballot,” Hosemann said. “That right is being defended by countless tens of thousands of Americans. You have that right, but you have an obligation to go vote for those 3,000 Mississippians who are in the sand dunes.”

Hosemann also discussed cybersecurity issues and his department’s commitment to protecting voters.

“There are people trying to break into our system as we speak by the thousands of times a day,” Hosemann said. Hosemann said he was working with the Department of Homeland Security on cybersecurity issues, including reviewing documents showing the agency’s progress.

“Every day I start by making sure our cybersecurity is safe, and it is an active, expensive, time-consuming fight with anumber of bad actors,” Hosemann said.

Flannery Egner, a freshman political science major from Olive Branch said she planned to vote in the upcoming election. She said Hosemann wished her luck with her aspirations to become a lawyer.

“I really enjoyed that he came out,” Egner said. “It just really shows that our government is taking action with us and with different voters.”

Egner said she also worked at her home precinct during the primaries earlier this year.

“I think everyone should vote, just so you have a voice,” Egner said.

The registration deadline for the upcoming Nov. 6 election in person is Oct. 8, with a deadline to register by mail on Oct. 9.

“Your vote does matter,” said MSUPresident Mark Keenum. “I hope you understand that, and it’s one of the most important rights you have as a citizen of this great country.”