3Qs: Delbert Hosemann, Mississippi secretary of state

By NEMS Daily Journal

Mississippians will go the polls Tuesday to vote for statewide, legislative, district-wide and county officials, plus three citizen-sponsored initiatives. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, whose office oversees elections, answered questions from the Daily Journal’s Bobby Harrison about Tuesday’s vote.

Q. You’ve made it clear that predicting voter turnout is not part of your job. But in general, are you hopeful of a good turnout on Tuesday? If so, why? Are there any issues that you are fearful might cause problems for voters on Tuesday?
A. I am. We have some big decisions to make on Nov. 8. Not only are we electing our statewide and legislative officials, but voters also will decide three constitutional initiatives: personhood, voter ID and eminent domain. These three initiatives address some of our most fundamental rights: when life begins under state laws, if you are required to show photo identification to vote and the right of the government to take private property for a non-public purpose. The biggest problem facing Mississippi is if its citizens do not vote or cast an uninformed ballot. Voters should educate themselves on these important issues prior to the election by visiting our website at www.sos.ms.gov/elections/initiatives.
We have Mississippians fighting and dying today for your right to cast a ballot, and we should honor them with our vote.

Q. As you stated, there will be three citizen-sponsored initiatives on the ballot Tuesday. Can you explain what vote total they will have to receive to pass?
A. The initiative process was designed to ensure the will of the majority of the electorate was reflected.
For an initiative to pass, it must receive a majority of total votes cast (50 percent, plus one) and 40 percent of the total number of voters in the 2011 general election must vote either “yes” or “no” on each initiative, or the measure fails.
I encourage all Mississippians not to vote just for governor or secretary of state, but vote all the way to the end of the ballot on these measures. No one should decide such important issues for you, and these initiatives need to be determined on their merit, and not a technicality.

Q. What should a person do if he or she has a problem voting or sees a problem when voting?
A. The Secretary of State’s Office has been working tirelessly with election officials across the state to prepare for the upcoming election. If someone has a problem voting, they should contact their local election officials. Or, they may contact the Secretary of State’s Election hotline at (800) 829-6786.
In addition, our agency also encourages texting on election day. Mississippi was the first state in the nation to allow voters to text to receive more information on the election.
A voter may text the keyword “MSVote” to 57711 to contact our Agency regarding election issues. We take voting seriously in Mississippi. We encourage our electorate to contact us immediately if a problem arises.