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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 yearâ€™s campaign will launch this week, Hosemann said.
â€śThese campaigns have had a positive impact, and we want to see that again this year,â€ť said Hosemann.
â€śWe want to achieve the highest voter turnout statewide that weâ€™ve ever had in a year with a non-gubernatorial or non-presidential race.â€ť
At the very least, Hosemann says, the stateâ€™s voters owe it to the thousands of fellow Mississippians serving in the nationâ€™s armed forces to go to the polls.
â€śMississippi has thousands of people in Afghanistan and Iraq who are serving our country so they can have the right to vote,â€ť Hosemann said.
â€śWe 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€ť
Mississippi elections are running smoother than ever, and thatâ€™s another reason residents should plan to go the polls, Hosemann said.
â€śOur stateâ€™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,â€ť said Hosemann.
To help minimize problems on Nov. 2, the Secretary of Stateâ€™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.
â€śThese 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€ť Hosemann said.
â€śThatâ€™s something we started when I got hired. Weâ€™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.â€ť
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.
â€śWe 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€ť he said.
â€śThe goal is to ensure the election runs smoothly.â€ť
More information about this yearâ€™s election â€” including timetables and candidate listings â€” can be found by visiting the Secretary of Stateâ€™s Office website at http://www.sos.ms.gov and clicking on the â€śElectionsâ€ť 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.
Hereâ€™s 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 Oâ€™Hara 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. â€śJimâ€ť 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 yearâ€™s election, the Circuit Clerkâ€™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.