By NEMS Daily Journal
Delbert Hosemann is Mississippi’s secretary of state. His office oversees elections, among its many duties. However, the state’s political parties operate the party primaries. Here, Hosemann answers questions from the Daily Journal’s Patsy Brumfield about the Aug. 2 primaries and the Aug. 23 runoffs.
Q. YOUR OFFICE is the state’s top election overseer. What were your impressions about last Tuesday’s party primaries and the turnout?
A. FRANKLY, I WAS a bit disappointed with the turnout, which was almost the same as four years ago. My staff and I had traveled around the state conducting education sessions with the public about Constitutional amendments, which will be on the November ballot. I had hoped the public also would focus on the candidates to boost turnout. It didn’t and that was the disappointment.
Our political parties operate the party primaries, and we had some glitches Tuesday that I would have preferred not to. We had people milling around in some of these polling places and that is not what we need to be doing. Not that they did anything wrong other than they’re not supposed to be there.
Q. STATEWIDE AND COUNTY party primaries are still to be decided Aug. 23. What is your biggest concern for those elections?
A. AGAIN, I’M WORRIED about turnout. We’ve gone through the first primary, often with numerous candidates, and now the two best have come forward from that process to be on the Aug. 23 ballot. It will be up to the people who voted in those primaries, or those who haven’t yet voted, to return to the polls to make the final decision on party nominees.
Q. IN THE AUG. 23 RUNOFFS, who is eligible to vote and how will local elections officials or poll workers enforce who can cast ballots?
A. FOR THE RUNOFFS, anyone who voted in the Democratic primary can only vote in the Democratic runoffs and it’s the same story for the Republican side. There are some people that want to move between different parties but that’s just not going to be allowed. For the voter who did not vote, they can choose either runoff. But it will be up to the precinct’s poll workers to check and make sure people are voting in the right primary. They must enforce their own rules.