Archive for April, 2013

Election Report notes “inappropriate voter assistance” in 2012

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Last week Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann released the report on the conduct of the 2012 elections in Mississippi.

From the press release:

The report also details Election Day issues noted by our Agency and the forty observers sent to forty counties across the State.

Some of those issues include:

• Distributing and receiving ballots for emergency responders;
• Inappropriate voter assistance, “too many to count” in one instance;
• Campaigning too close to the polls;
• A failure of some counties to timely certify their elections; and,
• Lack of signage.

Here are the issues from the report. Inappropriate voter assistance continues to be a problem and the report singles out Calhoun, Neshoba and Walthall Counties. (Emphasis below is mine):

A few parking areas at polling locations were reported to be unpaved, making access for the disabled difficult. Observers noted that some polling places were too small or overcrowded, such as the Main, Highway 9 and Bruce #3 precincts in Calhoun County, resulting in less privacy in the voting process and a violation of the thirty foot (30’) rule. This problem also presented itself at precincts located within courthouses, as experienced by voters of the East Vaiden precinct in Carroll County

At least one (1) precinct in each of the following counties was missing at least one (1) sign and/or posting required by the Help America Vote Act and/or Mississippi law: Adams, Amite, Attala, Calhoun, Carroll, Claiborne, Holmes, Hinds, Jasper, Jefferson, Kemper, Leake, Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Marshall, Montgomery, Noxubee, Pontotoc, Quitman, Walthall, Washington and Webster.

Observers noted an absence of instructions provided to voters casting an affidavit/provisional ballot in at least one (1) precinct in Attala, Claiborne, Holmes, Humphreys, Jasper, Kemper, Lafayette, Leake, Leflore, Lowndes, Noxubee, Perry and Walthall Counties.

A voter was allowed to enter the East Vaiden precinct in Carroll County and cast her ballot while wearing a tee-shirt supporting a presidential candidate, while others in Claiborne County were actively campaigning in a driveway leading to the entrance of Precinct 3A. The Secretary of State’s Office received numerous complaints on Election Day of a particular candidate’s campaign providing completed sample ballots to voters as each entered polling places in several counties,which included Holmes and Hinds Counties, in violation of the 150’ foot rule and the 30’ foot rule.

Election Day observers noted curbside voting taking place in a number of polling places visited within the counties, and proper procedures were followed by the poll managers. However, at least one observer noted an unusually high number of curbside voters, seventeen (17) at Precinct 94 in Hinds County between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Inappropriate voter assistance was noted by observers in polling places located in more than one-half of the forty (40) counties, meaning that poll managers were offering assistance to voters who did not request assistance and/or articulate a statutory reason for requiring assistance. Of significance were the notes of the observer in Calhoun County, who wrote that the number of voters assisted in one precinct were “too many to count”; the observer in Neshoba County who counted 68 voters assisted, with 25 having requested assistance and only one (1) voter actually articulating a statutory reason for requiring assistance; and the observer in Walthall County who counted 33 voters assisted between 8:10 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., with 1 having requested assistance and only 1 articulating a statutory reason for requiring assistance.

Campaign Songs: John Bell Williams, Ross Barnett & Cliff Finch

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

I collect political memorabilia: buttons, signs, push cards, bumper stickers and the like.  I cradled a Cliff Finch campaign lunch box I found at a flea market for $4 like it was the Holy Grail. But I’ve been really excited about a handful of campaign albums I’ve acquired including ones from John Bell Williams, Ross Barnett and Cliff Finch.

I uploaded some of these songs to YouTube, so if you enjoy political history like I do, you can listen as well. I sprinkled the songs with images of the men and their campaigns. It should go without saying, but to be clear, I don’t support the campaign issues (Barnett is explicitly segregationist) but I find them interesting as political history and education purposes.

John Bell Williams Is A Fightin’ Man by Jim Hopkins performed by Bob Cates & The Dixie Six (Superior Records) - John Bell Williams Campaign for Governor of Mississippi 1967

Roll With Ross by Houston Davis - Ross Barnett Campaign for Governor of Mississippi 1959

Little Carroll’s Last Stand by Houston Davis performed by the Jerry Lane Orchestra - Ross Barnett Campaign for Governor of Mississippi 1959

Lets Roll Again With Ross by Houston Davis performed by the Magnolia State Quartet with the Jerry Lane Orchestra - Ross Barnett Campaign for Governor of Mississippi 1967

When Good Ol’ Ross Goes Rolling In by Houston Davis performed by the Magnolia State Quartet with the Jerry Lane Orchestra - Ross Barnett Campaign for Governor of Mississippi 1967

Riding on the Cliff Finch Train by Freddie Aycock & The Country Gentlemen - Cliff Finch Campaign for Governor of Mississippi 1975

Whoever wins House 11 will be youngest legislator

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Voters in the House District 11 special election run-off in Panola and Tate Counties will choose the youngest member of the Mississippi legislature on Tuesday, April 16, according to The Panolian.  Both Lataisha Jackson (who took 38% in the first election) and Anderson Boothe (who took 33%) are 29 years old.  Currently the youngest legislator is Toby Barker (R-Hattiesburg) who is 31. While special elections are not partisan, both Jackson and Boothe participated in a forum with the Panola County Democratic Executive Committee.

While Jackson took the most votes in the first election, Boothe leads in fundraising and contributors.  In the campaign finance reports filed before the run-off Jackson reported raising $1400 while Boothe raised $2125. As noted in a previous post (here) Jackson didn’t turn in her report on time before the previous election, but she subsequently reported raising and spending $1500.  Boothe reported raising $4585 total during the campaign.

(Report Links - Lataisha Jackson pre-election; Lataisha Jackson pre-runoff; Anderson Boothe pre-election; Anderson Boothe pre-runoff)

Boothe has gone above and beyond disclosure requirements listing more than 20 contributors in this period’s report, some giving as little as $10 or $25.  It is worth noting one unusual contribution in the form of $100 from Mt. Gillion M.B. Church. While nothing prohibits a candidate from receiving money from a church, the IRS would likely not be too happy with Mt. Gillion if it is a tax exempt religious institution.  Among his expenditures, Boothe reported spending about $500 for printing and signs; $175 in newspaper advertising; $450 on rental space; and $71.41 on a popcorn machine.

The special election is necessary to fill the vacant seat of Representative Joe Gardner who passed away this year from a heart attack.

Both candidates have strong ties to education.  In their profiles in The Panolian, Boothe expressed opposition to charter schools while Jackson noted she is not opposed to charters and has worked in charter schools in the past.

It may also be worth noting that Boothe has had some heavy “endorsements” in his campaign from the likes of Dora the Explorer, Sponge Bob Square Pants and Elmo, according to this fundraising site.


Jackson had an advertisement in today’s Panolian featuring a letter from Congressman Bennie Thompson (on what appears to be official U.S. House of Representatives letterhead).  The letter reads:

“I am so pleased to learn of your candidacy for the Mississippi House of Representatives seat in District 11.  Democrats need a young leader with your energy, passion, knowledge and good heart to help them in these trying times.  Your work for the children in your area serves as an example of selfless leadership for us all.  Equal justice and economic opportunity are the keys to a better life for our citizens.  Your willingness to lend your voice and skills to help advance these causes is much appreciated. Together we can advocate policies that benefit those that are all too often left behind.”

Here is a photo of the advertisement.

Longstreet leads Gibbs in campaign finance for House 36 runoff

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Karl Gibbs led the six-candidate field on the March 12 special election for House 36 to fill the seat of House 36 in Clay, Monroe and Lowndes counties. The vacancy was caused by the death of his father Rep. David Gibbs (D-West Point).

Gibbs took 28.1% of the vote (results) while his pre-election campaign finance report showed he raised, spent and had on hand zero dollars (previous campaign finance post here).  The candidate who reported raising and spending the most - Eddie Longstreet - came in second place with 21.9% of the vote.  Longstreet made it into the run-off with Gibbs by beating out the third place candidate by only 8 votes.

According to the Columbus Packet, “Gibbs is employed at the Columbus Air Force Base. Longstreet is the pastor at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in West Point and he was a staff member for former US Rep. Travis Childers.”

In the first election, Gibbs and Longstreet combined pulled only 1502 votes.  Today’s run-off coming right off Easter will be a low turnout event. A Clay County turnout of solid numbers would appear to benefit Gibbs.  Lowndes County will not be a factor (unless it comes to a handful of votes) and Longstreet has a stronger base in Monroe County - although without the clear advantage Gibbs has in Clay.

In the pre-run-off campaign finance reports, covering March 3 through March 23, Gibbs again reports no money raised but discloses nearly $1000 spent on political signs and pushcards.  Longstreet reports another $4500 self-contribution with spending going toward newspaper and radio ads, printing and gas for travel.

Karl Gibbs (Report Here) - Raised: $0 - Spent $912 - COH $0

Eddie Longstreet (Report Here) - Raised: $7500 - Spent $6600 - COH $900

Longstreet leads Gibbs in money raised and spent, but Gibbs has the advantage of his family name which represented the district for twenty years. Gibbs also demonstrated in the first election that he can pull the votes necessary to win the race. The polls close at 7pm Tuesday night.

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