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Attorney General Answers FAQ’s About Election Laws Related to Filling Vacant Senate Seat

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Q. Why can’t the Governor just appoint someone to fill the vacancy for State Senator instead of calling for a special election? A. In some instances, state law allows the Governor to make temporary appointments when vacancies occur in some elective offices. However, the office of state senator is not one of those instances. State law (Miss. Code Ann. Section 23-15-851) requires that a special election be held whenever a vacancy occurs in the office of state senator or representative. A vacancy was created by the death of Senator Jack Gordon on May 8, 2011. Q. Why are the regular and special elections being held on the same day? A. State law (Miss. Code Ann. Section 23-15-851) gives the Governor the authority to set the date for the special election. In this case, the Governor selected November 8, which is the same date of the regular general election. Q. How long would the person serve who would be elected at the special election? A. The person elected would serve out the remainder of the unexpired term, which in this case would be through December 31, 2011. Q. What happens to the position after December 31, 2011? A. The term for the person elected in the special election expires on December 31, 2011. The term for the person elected in the regular general election is January 3, 2012 through December 31, 2015. Q. How will I cast my votes for state senator in the general election and state senator in the special election to be held on the same day? A. One ballot will be used for the general election and a second ballot will be used for the special election. Q. How will the general and special elections affect absentee voting? A. An absentee ballot application and an absentee ballot will be mailed for the general election and the special election. So, that means the voter will receive two applications and two ballots. Q. Do I have to use all of the envelopes for returning the applications and ballots? A. Yes. Each application and ballot must be mailed separately in order for your ballots be to legal and therefore counted. Q. What should I place in the four envelopes that I receive? A. You will receive two envelopes for returning your absentee ballot applications and two envelopes for your absentee ballots. Be sure to place the proper postage on each of the four envelopes. Q. What will happen if I return the application and the absentee ballot in one envelope for the general election and the application and the absentee ballot in a second envelope for the special election, or the applications in one envelope and the absentee ballots in a second envelope? A. Your votes will not be legal and therefore cannot be counted. The absentee ballot application is required for checking your signature on the envelope containing your absentee ballot. If you place both the application and absentee ballot in the same envelope, pollworkers will have no way of checking your signature. Pollworkers would be prohibited in opening the envelope to remove your application if you place the application in the same envelope containing your absentee ballot. Since two separate elections will be held on the same day, your absentee ballot application and absentee ballot for the regular general election and the special election will be processed at different times. Q. What do I do if I voted the absentee ballot for the general election only and wish to vote in the special election? A. Contact your circuit clerk’s office immediately. Q. Who should I contact if I have questions about this? A. You may contact your county circuit clerk’s office to discuss any questions or concerns.]]]]> ]]>

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Hurricane warnings issued for Zeta

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Hurricane Zeta Oct. 27 (source: NOAA / NHC)

Zeta is on track to hit very near to the same Gulf Coast areas as hurricanes Cristobal, Laura and Delta. Hurricane warnings have been issued for New Orleans, lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas and from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi-Alabama state line.

Hurricane Zeta made landfall on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Monday night as a Category 1 hurricane, then weakened as it crossed into the Gulf of Mexico. There, the storm is expected to strengthen once again to a hurricane with winds of 80 to 85 miles per hour.

The storm is expected to make landfall on the Gulf Coast Wednesday night. Life-threatening storm surge is expected along portions of the northern Gulf Coast by late Wednesday, with the highest inundation occurring somewhere between the mouth of the Pearl River and Dauphin Island, Alabama.

Zeta is the 27th named storm of what has turned out to be an extremely busy hurricane season, as predicted. It’s the 11th hurricane and also the earliest 27th storm of season, breaking the previous record set Nov. 25, 2005. An average hurricane season sees 10 named storms and six hurricanes.

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USACE Vicksburg District launches Bayou Bodcau online map

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Bayou Bodcau (photo courtesy USACE)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District launched an online, interactive map of Bayou Bodcau in Louisiana on Monday, Oct. 26.

The USACE Bayou Bodcau online map will provide users with an intuitive, all-in-one informational tool for the area’s numerous recreation opportunities. The map will be accessible via web browser and feature a variety of icons and pop-up information boxes that allow users to identify and locate various recreation features. Visitors will be able to view Bayou Bodcau’s 59 campsites, 14 boat ramps, 26 trailheads for over 40 miles of trails, designated hunting areas, and other recreation features to plan their visits and learn more about the area.

“This effort exemplifies the dedication of our geospatial and recreation experts who worked to ensure a comprehensive, data-driven final product,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “We are proud to provide such a powerful and efficient tool for our recreation visitors and the public.”

Developed as a collaboration between the USACE Vicksburg District’s Technical Services Branch and the

Bayou Bodcau Field Office, the interactive map is the first of its type among the district’s numerous recreation projects. Bayou Bodcau staff members Tommy Jones, Randall Bordelon and Caitlin Sloan collected GPS information, photos and detailed descriptions for each of Bayou Bodcau’s recreation features. Cartographer Bill Sisneros used the data to design, develop and produce the map, along with support and technical reviews from Geographic Information System team members Julie Vicars and Brian Everitt.

“I was happy to help develop a tool that benefits outdoor enthusiasts,” said Sisneros. “I look forward to developing similar products for other district recreation areas in the future.”

View the map

For more information about the USACE Bayou Bodcau online map, contact the district’s public affairs office at 601-631-5000 or [email protected].

 

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USACE employee receives 2020 Paralegal of the Year award

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Vincent “Vince” Farrell (photo courtesy USACE)

An employee with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District received the 2020 Paralegal of the Year award from the Mississippi Paralegal Association in Jackson Friday.

Vincent “Vince” Farrell was recognized by MPA for his “continuous example of professionalism and excellence in the legal community.” He serves as a paralegal specialist for the USACE Vicksburg District’s Office of Counsel and provides support for contract, environment, labor and employment, and litigation attorneys with a variety of specializations.

Since joining the district in 2018, Farrell has supported its vital investigations and litigations and has tracked over 500 contracting actions worth a combined total of over $500 million. Farrell also took the initiative to manage and coordinate the Office of Counsel’s administrative needs while simultaneously overhauling the law library and overseeing all training metrics for his colleagues.

In addition to his work as a paralegal, Farrell serves as an alternate district liaison officer to the state of Mississippi on behalf of USACE during severe weather events. He also serves as a district fire protection section monitor and assumes responsibility for the accountability and safety during fire-related drills and emergencies for the Office of Counsel, the district’s command suite and the chiefs of the district’s Operations Division.

He credits his success and accomplishments to support from his wife Ariel, their son Vincent and his parents, Vincent and Briceland Farrell, as well as the numerous colleagues and educators he has known throughout his life.

In addition to his award, Farrell was elected to the association’s board of directors as the central region director for 2021. He will serve as the voice of paralegals across 25 counties, establish and direct continuing legal education events, promote MPA membership within the region, and formulate activities to strengthen the paralegal population and relationships within central Mississippi.

“We are extremely proud of Vincent’s achievement and his continued dedication to USACE,” said David Dyer, USACE Vicksburg District head of the Office of Counsel, in a statement. “He has been invaluable in helping to achieve the district’s mission, and we are lucky to have his broad skill set and incredible work ethic.”

An alumnus of the U.S. Army’s Adjutant General School, Farrell has also earned certificates at Kansas State University, Boston University and an associate degree from Southern New Hampshire University. He is working toward his Bachelor of Science in criminal justice with a concentration in homeland security and counterterrorism from Southern New Hampshire University. A decorated and honorably discharged veteran, Farrell previously served as a paralegal supervisor at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii, and Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. His service awards include two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Good Conduct Medals, a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Medal and an Army Service Ribbon.

MPA was founded in 1980 by Mississippi paralegals who aimed to encourage a higher order of ethical and professional attainment and promote the profession of paralegals statewide. The organization supports, encourages and maintains high standards for the service, conduct and ethics of paralegals.

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