Another election year is over, but our work interrogating Mississippi’s election systems certainly is not.
We started getting the first reports of ballot shortages from voters in Mississippi’s largest county before noon on Election Day. By that evening, it was national news that at least nine precincts had run out of ballots—causing voters to wait for hours to cast a vote in some cases or else leave without making their voices heard.
Local officials have attributed the chaos to a number of breakdowns in the system.
“There were some mistakes, a lot of small fires that we needed to put out right away,” Hinds County Circuit Clerk Zack Wallace, who cited running out of print toner as one of the complicating factors in procuring enough ballots, told WLBT. Local election officials also cited higher-than-expected turnout—even though turnout was down from the last statewide election cycle in 2019.
The ballot shortages spawned a raft of false conspiracy theories, including claims that Republican Gov. Tate Reeves had orchestrated the shortages to prevent Democratic opponent Brandon Presley from defeating him. (There is no evidence that Reeves or any other state officials had any involvement; procuring ballots is handled by local officials, and there were not enough voters in the nine affected precincts to swing the election).
This is far from the first time this has happened.
During the August primaries, a precinct in Madison County ran out of Republican ballots while a precinct in Leflore County ran out of Democratic ballots, WAPT reported. When Hinds County faced ballot shortages in 2014, local election officials said they did not print the number of ballots required under state law because they were trying to save money, WLBT reported at the time. They also cited “unexpected higher turnout than normal”—an explanation that’s well-worn at this point.
This just cannot be how elections go if we are to build and grow democracy in this state; Mississippi is already legally one of the hardest and most restrictive states to cast a ballot in even before taking system failures into account.
That’s why, for several years now, we’ve been
Read original article by clicking here.