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Hinds County Ballot Shortages Inspire South Jackson Native’s Run For Election Commissioner

Last year’s disastrous ballot shortages inspired 24-year-old Democrat Jermany Gray to run for Hinds County election commissioner for District 3, the South Jackson native said during a press conference about his campaign outside the Hinds County Election Commission on Wednesday.

He said his mother always took him to the polls with her when he was a child, and “the spirit of wanting to vote, the spirit of wanting to be engaged, that was built into me.”

“That last race was my first governor’s race,” Gray said. “I’m grateful that my precinct did not experience issues, but it was very frustrating to hear that other people were not able to cast their votes quickly and efficiently in one of the most important elections in our state’s history.”

A Jermany Gray Election Commission campaign sign is pictured during Gray’s press conference outside the Hinds County Election Commission office in Jackson, Miss., on June 5, 2024. Photo by Shaunicy Muhammad

Gray, a former poll worker, said he wants to help restore voters’ faith in the system and that he would prioritize voter education outreach and ensuring election commission meetings are streamed online if elected.

Jermal Clark, the current District 3 Election Commissioner, won the seat in 2020 after a runoff.

In an interview with the Mississippi Free Press on Wednesday, Gray said the challenge of running against an incumbent motivates him.

“I’m going to let it motivate me because I think I’m the better person for the position,” he said. “I don’t know if he’s the best fit to help move us forward from where we have been.”

After graduating from Murrah High School, Gray attended Dillard University where he received a bachelor’s degree in political science. He’s currently enrolled in a public policy and public administration master’s program at Jackson State University.

Commissioners Blamed ‘Human Error’ For Ballot Shortages

Election Commissioners are tasked with managing a county’s election operations. They keep and maintain the county’s poll books, hire and train poll workers, and—along with the county circuit clerk—help to maintain voter-registration records.

But after at least nine Hinds County voting precincts ran

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