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 — print, broadcast, Internet — 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 year’s campaign will launch this week, Hosemann said.
“These campaigns have had a positive impact, and we want to see that again this year,” said Hosemann.
“We want to achieve the highest voter turnout statewide that we’ve ever had in a year with a non-gubernatorial or non-presidential race.”
At the very least, Hosemann says, the state’s voters owe it to the thousands of fellow Mississippians serving in the nation’s armed forces to go to the polls.
“Mississippi has thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq who are serving our country so they can have the right to vote,” Hosemann said.
“We 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.”
Mississippi elections are running smoother than ever, and that’s another reason residents should plan to go the polls, Hosemann said.
“Our state’s 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,” said Hosemann.
To help minimize problems on Nov. 2, the Secretary of State’s Office will have staff members stationed strategically in 29 counties across the state to be able to respond to problems if needed, Hosemann said.
“These 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,” Hosemann said.
“That’s something we started when I got hired. We’ve 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.”
Under a recently enacted state law — a law passed with legislation he supported — 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.
“We have to be able to give them hard facts on everything from the number of absentee ballots cast to problems encountered at the polls,” he said.
“The goal is to ensure the election runs smoothly.”
More information about this year’s election — including timetables and candidate listings — can be found by visiting the Secretary of State’s Office website at http://www.sos.ms.gov  and clicking on the “Elections” 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.
Here’s a breakdown of the candidates in each race on the general election ballot in Oktibbeha County:
U.S. House of
• Joel L. Gill, Democrat
• Gregg Harper, Republican
• Tracella Lou O’Hara Hill, Reform Party.
Chancery Court Judge
14th Chancery District
• Kenneth M. Burns
• Jim Davidson
• Dorothy W. Colom
Circuit Court Judge, 16th Circuit District
• James T. “Jim” Kitchens
• William Starks
• Lee J. Howard
• Lee S. Coleman
• Bob Marshall
• Nebra Porter
Oktibbeha County School District
Board of Trustees
District 2 Seat
• Curtis Snell
• Marvin L. Williams
• Melvin Harris
• Yvette Rice
Absentee voting for the general election is under way.
For more information about absentee voting for this year’s election, the Circuit Clerk’s 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.