Hosemann orders ballot reprinting

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lincoln County paper ballots will bereprinted following a decision by state officials to revise theupcoming election’s ballot, said Circuit Clerk Terry LynnWatkins.

    Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann decided Wednesdaythat the financial cost associated with three constitutionalamendments to be considered by voters should be included on theNov. 8 election ballot, according to a press release by hisoffice.

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    Circuit clerks statewide were contacted Wednesday and told paperballots must be reprinted to reflect the updated information. Theinitiatives address issues related to voter ID, personhood andeminent domain.

    Absentee ballots cast on the previous ballots will still count,Watkins said.

    Currently Watkins’ office is using an addendum containing thefiscal information required by Hosemann. This addendum is beinggiven to those voting absentee with the old ballots.

    Watkins said 205 absentee votes were cast before her office beganhanding out the addendums.

    The corrected ballot is expected to be posted online today, Watkinssaid. The online version of the ballot will be printed and given asan absentee ballot until the official reprints arrive.

    The secretary of state will reimburse the counties for the cost ofballot reprints, but circuit clerks must oversee the reprintingprocess themselves, Watkins said.

    Watkins has notified Lawrence Printing about the need forreprints.

    “The earliest they can start printing is next Monday,” Watkinssaid. “They have to prep the paper.”

    Watkins estimated ballots would not arrive until three or four daysafter printing begins.

    The cost of printing is 36 cents per ballot, and 10,095 ballotswill be reprinted for Lincoln County.

    Lawrence County Deputy Clerk Tracey Carney said Lawrence County’snew ballots will not arrive until the end of next week. About 70absentee votes have been cast in Lawrence County, she said.

    Copiah County Deputy Clerk Lois Anderson could not provideinformation about when reprinted ballots would arrive.

    “We are prepared to reprint, but we are on hold,” Andersonsaid.

    Anderson said the circuit clerk’s office in Copiah County hasrecorded approximately 90 absentee ballots as of Thursdaymorning.

    Franklin County officials were unavailable for comment whencontacted Thursday morning.

    Watkins said she is concerned the reprint will delay vote-countingon election night.

    The official, but outdated, absentee ballots her office iscurrently using and the upcoming reprints can be machine counted.However, her office will be required to print updated ballots fromthe Internet once they become available and use them until officialreprints arrive.

    The ballots printed from the Internet will pose problems.

    “They’re not machine scannable,” Watkins said. “They will have tobe counted by hand.”

    The fiscal analysis that will be included on the new ballotsconcluded that no revenue impact could be discerned for eitherInitiative 26, defining personhood, or Initiative 31, limiting thestate’s power of eminent domain.

    A cost is associated with Initiative 27, which would require votersto show some form of photo identification. Analysis determined thatthe Department of Public Safety would see a loss of revenue ofapproximately $1.49 million as a result of Initiative 27.

    Under the initiative, the state would be required to provide photoidentification (other than driver’s licenses) free of charge.Identification cards currently cost $14.