Mosley ready for changes

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, January 21, 2016

Circuit Court Clerk Baretta Mosley said her office is ready for the proposed changes made to Mississippi’s election process announced Tuesday by Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, which include online registration and allowing people to vote 21 days prior to an election.

The online voting registration will modernize and streamline Mississippi’s voter registration, according to Hosemann. Any Mississippian with a Mississippi driver’s license or Department of Public Safety-issued ID card would be able to register online. Hosemann believes the system will help eliminate errors and reduce costs of paper registration. Mosley said it also should help with voter fraud.

“Online registration shouldn’t be a problem because people download voter applications and mail them in now,” she said. “So this will just eliminate postage and the delay in receiving the application. We have to show government-issued photo ID at the polls before you vote, this helps prevent voter fraud.”

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Hosemann, a Republican, said he also wants to allow people to vote in circuit clerks’ offices 21 days before any election.

Current law allows limit- ed reasons for voting early by absentee ballot, and Hosemann said some voters are being forced to lie about their plans to be out of town on election day.

Mosley believes the early voting will be well-received by most voters. She said the only problem her office may face is having enough time to prepare the poll books by allowing early voting up until noon on the Saturday before election day.

“It takes awhile to process and reprint the poll books,” she said. “We are talking about days to process polls books if there is a large turnout to vote early.”

The only option, Mosley said, is to go to electronic poll books, which the county has been looking at doing for a while now.

“Looks like we will have to step up and get electron- ic books sooner rather than later,” she said. “Anything that makes it easier and more accessible for voters to register and vote, we are all on board.”

More changes

Other changes proposed by Hosemann included shortening the time line for political committees to report their spending, require candidates to give itemized listings of campaign expenses paid by credit card, ease the process for prosecutors to bring charges against people who send anonymous campaign fliers, and move Mississippi’s presidential primary to the first Tuesday in March rather than the second Tuesday as it is currently.

“Moving Super Tuesday up a week is of no consequence to me personally,” Mosley said. “We will be ready whenever they say an election is to be held.”

The proposed election changes will be filed in a bill that’s more than 380 pages long, Hosemann said, that will go before the House and Senate during the Legislative session.

Mosley said Hosemann received input from circuit clerks, election commissioners, attorneys, the general public, legislators, supervisors, and district attorneys when Hosemann created the proposed changes.

“It’s not easy when there is change, but an informed public makes our jobs easier when change occurs,” Mosley said. “We appreciate all our media outlets publishing the most updated information.”