By CARL SMITH
Oktibbeha County voters who are leaving the area this weekend can visit the circuit clerk’s office and vote absentee, but the statewide ballots have yet to be certified by the Secretary of State’s office.
Circuit Clerk Angie McGinnis said a delay in Noxubee County’s certification process has delayed statewide certified ballots.
Noxubee County poll workers were reassembled this week to properly certify the county’s ballots, but an official certified ballot had not been approved as of Thursday.
“By law, counties have 10 days after an election to certify their results,” McGinnis said. “Those results have to (be approved) by individual county parties, and then they’re turned over to state chairs because of the statewide election. I believe (Noxubee County) finished yesterday. The state has advised circuit clerks that we should be receiving something official by (Friday).”
McGinnis said in order for her office to be prepared to receive absentee ballots, she is going forward and composing in-house paper ballots for voters which have not been certified by the state.
“(The timetable) isn’t going to give me enough time to have a scanable ballot for Saturday,” she said. “We will put a disclaimer on the paper ballot for anyone who is leaving town and has to vote this weekend.”
The paper ballots will be processed on election night just as a scanable ballot, she said, and will be transferred accordingly.
“This will not effect the integrity of the ballot or reveal any individuals and how they are voting,” she said.
In-house absentee ballots are due at noon Aug. 20, but mailed ballots must be received by the circuit clerk by Aug. 22. The runoff election will be held the following day, Aug. 23.
While McGinnis received many reports of voting irregularities, she said she feels both county Democratic party and the Republican party officials are satisfied that her office is doing everything it can to ensure a well-run election.
“Both parties are working in conjunction with this office to get the word out from an education point about what the laws and rules are for an election,” she said. “We’re hoping everything will run accordingly.”