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MAGA hats? BLM shirts? What Mississippians can and can’t wear to the polls and other helpful voting tips for Election Day



(Image by Mary Pahlke from Pixabay}

Mississippians are expected to vote in record numbers Tuesday, and already have set absentee voting records for this election, typically a bellwether for in-person turnout.

Here are some tips and rules for Mississippi voters as they prepare to vote:

• Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. statewide. State law says anyone in line by 7 p.m. must be allowed to vote even if polls are closing.

• To make sure you know where to vote, go to the secretary of state’s Polling Place Locator.

• Secretary of State Michael Watson said people wanting to avoid long lines, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, should avoid going to the polls in the early morning, during lunch, or after 5 p.m.

• Mississippi voters are not under a mask mandate, although they are urged to wear them and most precincts will have them available for voters. Both Watson and Gov. Tate Reeves say such a mandate would be unconstitutional infringement on voting rights, although the federal district court that covers Mississippi has ruled it would not be unconstitutional.

• You may be asked by poll managers to step six feet back and briefly pull down your mask so that your identity can be verified.

• Poll workers will be wearing masks, and additional workers have been added at many precincts to ensure social distancing guidelines and to ensure the polls and the voting machines are continuously sanitized.

• Voters must have a government-issued photo identification. But those without an ID are allowed to vote, and they will have five days to go to their county circuit clerk’s office to provide proof of their identification. People needing to vote curbside because they believe they might have COVID-19 or because of other issues should call their local circuit clerk before voting. Telephone numbers for circuit clerks can be found on the secretary of state’s web page. In Warren County, call 601-636-3961.

• People who for whatever reason are not on the poll books can request to vote by affidavit and they also will have five days to resolve issues surrounding why they were not on the poll books.

• A new rule issued by Watson says curbside voting must be available for anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19, including coughing, headaches, fever, sore throat and loss of taste or smell.

• Another new rule says election officials must notify a voter about problems with their signature on an absentee ballot, and must give the voter a chance to fix the problem. The voters must be offered an “absentee cure form” by email, mail or fax within one business day, and the voter has 10 days to correct the problem.

• People with questions about where they vote can visit the polling place locator or Y’all Vote on the secretary of state’s web page. The office also has a telephone line at 1-800-829-6786 to answer elections-related questions. County circuit clerks also can answer questions about the election.

• Rules prevent people from wearing campaign-related clothes or caps into the polling place. And people campaigning for a person or issue on the ballot must remain 150 feet from the polling place. Watson said this rule applies only to signage or clothing pertaining to “anything that’s on the ballot,” but would not prohibit other messaging not directly up for a vote. So any candidate-specific gear like MAGA or Biden hats are prohibited, but generic “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts are permitted.

ELECTION 2020: Mississippi Today Voter’s Guide

This article first appeared on Mississippi Today and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.


Massive search continues for two young men on the Mississippi



(photo by Thomas Parker)

Nearly 24 hours after two young men disappeared on the Mississippi River near the Warren-Claiborne county line, rescuers, many of them community members and volunteers, are still on the job searching for them.

The young men, Gunner Palmer, 16, from Copiah County, and Zeb Hughes, 21, of Wesson, Mississippi, went out on a boat Thursday with their dog to find a good spot for duck hunting near Davis Island. Hughes’ mom spoke with her son at 2:48 p.m. Thursday, which may be the last time anyone has spoken to them since.

When they hadn’t returned by Thursday after dark, and family and friends couldn’t reach them by phone, they raised the alarm.

The search began in Warren County around 9 p.m. Thursday with county deputies and personnel from the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks. The rainy weather and fog hampered the search, which was called off after midnight.

“We had boats out last night until after 2 o’clock this (Friday) morning when the fog and the rain just made it too dangerous to be on the water,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

First light Friday morning, the search resumed, with more personnel and volunteers joining as the day brightened. They included volunteers with the Cajun Navy, MDWFP personnel, Warren County and Madison Parish deputies, and 28 men and women from the Central Mississippi Overland Search and Rescue Team, which consists of police and firefighters from around the state. A private aircraft and another plane from Madison Parish have also been searching, along with numerous people from the community on land and in the river.

Around 9 a.m., the hunters’ boat was found capsized in the water near Middle Ground Island, roughly adjacent to the Claiborne-Warren county line.

A few items from what would have been on the boat were located later; including one of the three life vests that were onboard.

People tend to underestimate the power of the Mississippi River and there’s nothing to say the two young men had experience traversing it.

“The Mississippi River is dangerous on its best day, and deadly on its worst, and yesterday was just not the best day to be on the water,” Pace said.

The overland search has been called off for Friday. Rescuers will rendezvous Saturday at 7 a.m. to continue, if necessary.

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City employees to ring the bell in support of the Salvation Army



(photo source: Salvation Army)

”The need is great, but the strength of the community is greater!”

City of Vicksburg employees will be doing their part in assisting the local Salvation Army in operation “Rescue Christmas.” Employees will ring the bell at Kroger from 8 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7.

There are several ways to give at the kettle. Cash is accepted via Apple and Google pay, or you can scan a code that will direct patrons to the Vicksburg kettle donation site. More importantly, all proceeds stay right here in Vicksburg!

Please stop by and help the employees of the City of Vicksburg “Rescue Christmas”!

Schedule – Kroger Monday, Dec. 7

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.
Gary Jackson and Rick Daughtry

9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
COV Traffic Dept

10 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Kim Hopkins and Ashley Hoeft

11 a.m. – noon
Malinda Hill and Fayeshetta Odoms

Noon – 1 p.m.
Fermika Smith and Deputy Chief Paymon

1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Trey Martin  and Alex Monsour

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Vicksburg Fire Department

3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Mayor George Flaggs Jr. and Officer Joseph Stubbs

4 p.m. –  5 p.m.
Nancy Thomas and Doug Whittington

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Mayor taking the gloves off on businesses not complying with COVID-19 regulations



Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. in Dec. 4 press conference. (photo via video screen grab)

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. is taking off the gloves when it comes to COVID-19 in Vicksburg.

In response to the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Warren County, Flaggs announced Friday that any business not conforming to the city’s COVID-19 restrictions will be cited and fined. If the business continues to flout the law, the city will turn off its utilities. This new, tougher restriction goes into effect at noon Saturday, Dec. 6.

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases rose to more than 20 per day Friday with 46 cases reported. The average is four times higher than where it was a month ago.

“The mitigation of this disease is too important,” Flaggs said, his voice rising with emotion. He said that continuing the trend will land Warren County on the governor’s hot spot list.

“We will not compromise, and we will not negotiate,” the Mayor added.

Flaggs said that most businesses in Vicksburg are complying to the city’s orders, but a few continue to ignore them.

“We’re not going to let one business disrupt the economy of Vicksburg by not wanting to do what you should be doing,” he said.

Summary of the new order:
Read the complete supplemental order

In addition to the regulations effective Dec. 2, 2020:

  1. All persons are required to wear a face covering, both indoors and outdoors, at group/social gatherings if social distancing (6 feet apart from persons who are not household members) is not or cannot be practiced.
  2. Group/social gathering temperature checks – before entering a group/social gathering, inside or outside, of more than 20 people, the host or other designated responsible person must check the temperature of all persons requesting entrance. If a person’s temperature is higher than 100.4°, the person must not be allowed to enter the group/social gathering. Examples of a group/social gathering are a private party, house party, wedding, wedding reception, wedding or baby shower, sporting event, funeral, worship service or other social event. The host or other designated responsible person must also keep a list of persons attending the gathering and contact information for contact tracing if needed.
  3. Restaurants and bars – businesses that sell alcohol for consumption on its premises or businesses that allow consumption of alcohol on its premises must check the temperature of every employee and patron before entrance. If a person’s temperature is above 100.4°, the person must not be allowed to enter the premises.
  4. The Block Party scheduled for Downtown Vicksburg Friday, Dec. 4, 2020, is canceled and all future Block Parties are canceled until further notice.

Violation of this EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION will be subject to misdemeanor prosecution pursuant to Sec. 45-17-9 of the Mississippi Code of 1972, as amended, Sec. 33-15-7 and Sec. 1-9 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Vicksburg, including a fine of up to $1,000.00 and 90 days in jail.

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