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Clerk ready for votes

Lafayette County Circuit Clerk Baretta Mosley said all is going well as her office prepares for Tuesday’s Primary Election.

“We’re ready,” Mosley said.

She indicated workers have been trained and the voting machines have been tested.

“The machines have been checked out and will be put in place,” Mosley said.

Unlike some areas of Mississippi where there has been questionable absentee voting, Mosley said the number voting absentee actually has been down compared to the last statewide election in 2011.

“We’re actually lower than normal,” Mosley said. “About 25 percent lower than four years ago.”

She’s not sure what the cause is for the low absentee voting turnout. The absentee option ended Saturday.

“I don’t know, unless people are actually planning to vote on Tuesday,” Mosley said. “We certainly hope so.”

The Secretary of State’s office reported last week several counties were requesting an unusually higher than normal of absentee ballots.

“High absentee ballots are always cause for concern with our agency,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “Now that Mississippi has passed voter ID, absentee balloting has the highest potential for fraud in our state.”

According to Hosemann, on average, the percentage of absentee ballots cast in an election is 5 to 6 percent.

Noxubee and Quitman counties hit more than 13 and 10 percent, respectively, while Claiborne and Tallahatchie counties both reported more than 7 percent.

“More and more people are stating they will be ‘out of the county’ on Election Day to cast an absentee ballot,” Hosemann said. “Absentee balloting has become early voting in Mississippi. As we have on prior occasions, we have requested some circuit clerks provide copies of all absentee ballots following the Primary Election.”

With so many contested races locally, including sheriff, tax collector and justice court judges, Mosley is hopeful there will be a large turnout on Tuesday at the polls.

“The weather will be warm, but we’re anticipating nice weather so we hope folks come out,” Mosley said.

One concern raised by Mosley is that Lafayette County voters already have gone to the polls twice this year and she’s hoping that does not confuse residents who may decide they don’t need to vote.

“We’re hoping that’s not the case and folks will go to their assigned precincts and vote,” Mosley said.

Mosley said that if voters have any concerns or are confused where they should vote, they should contact her office at 662234-4951 or the Secretary of State’s office at 1-800829-6786. They also can visit the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ms.gov/Elections-Voting.

The polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7 p.m.