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Mississippi on track to top 2016 voter turnout this Election Day

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Calls to the secretary of state’s Election Hotline (601-576-2550) have been steady, with most calls relating to polling place changes, voter registration and masks at polling places, the Mississippi secretary of state’s office said in a release Monday. As a reminder, in Mississippi, no voter should be denied the right to vote for not wearing a face mask.

In 2016, Mississippians cast 1,209,357 legal votes for the presidential election. Based on absentee reports and voter turnout at the polls, the secretary of state’s office expects Mississippi to surpass that total.

As of Sunday, Nov. 1, the Statewide Election Management System reported Mississippians had requested 248,335 absentee ballots and clerks had sent 247,650 ballots. A total of 231,031 absentee ballots had been received for the 2020 General Election, more than double those of 2016.

In the last presidential election, Mississippians requested 110,812 ballots. Circuit clerks sent out 110,810 ballots and received 102,915. Of those, 101,339 were accepted.

“We are well aware of the lines many Mississippi voters are experiencing as they are going to cast their ballots,” said Secretary of State Michael Watson in a statement. “Please keep in mind our poll managers are doing a great job managing an incredibly high turnout in the midst of COVID-19 safety precautions, including social distancing and limited numbers of voters allowed in some of our precincts. Be sure to thank them for their service!”

If you experience or witness a problem at the polls, please contact the appropriate district attorney’s office or the attorney general’s office at 601-359-3279, as the Secretary of State’s Office has no enforcement authority to resolve problems. Our office will continue to field all calls and send updates on the 2020 General Election throughout the day.

 Election Day Reminders

  • Polls are open until 7 p.m. Any voter in line at 7 p.m. is entitled to cast a ballot.
  • Mail-In Absentee Voting Deadline: All mail-in absentee ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (Nov. 3) and received within five business days of Election Day in order to count.
  • Polling Place Location: Please contact your county circuit clerk’s office or local election commissioners for updates regarding your polling place. Several counties have changed polling places since the 2020 primary election.
  • Voter Photo ID: Voters are required to show photo identification at the polls. A voter without an acceptable form of photo identification is entitled to cast an affidavit ballot. An affidavit ballot may be counted if the voter provides an acceptable form of photo identification to the circuit clerk’s office within five business days after the election. Click here for more information.
  • Campaigning: It is unlawful to campaign for any candidate or ballot measure within 150 feet of any entrance to a polling place, unless on private property.
  • Loitering: The polling places should be clear for 30 feet from every entrance of all people except elections officials, voters waiting to vote, or authorized poll watchers.
  • Camera Phones: Voters are prohibited from taking pictures of their marked ballot.
  • COVID-19: Our office supplied every county with COVID-19 safety supplies and personal protective equipment for poll managers. County officials have been instructed to sanitize and disinfect high-touch areas at each precinct. Voters are encouraged to practice good hygiene and follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines at the polls.

For more information about state election laws or Election Day information, visit Y’all Vote or call the Elections Division Hotline at 601-576-2550.

 

Crime

High speed chase ends in fiery crash

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(photo by David Day)

A high-speed chase Saturday evening that began near the Waffle House in Vicksburg has ended in a crash in Claiborne County and a vehicle in flames.

First reports indicate the incident began around 5:10 p.m. as an argument at the Waffle House at 4100 Pemberton Square Blvd. A man and woman left the scene and stopped at a Shell gas station on U.S. Highway 61 South where the man pulled the woman, who is pregnant, out of the vehicle by her hair.

The man, Bojara O’Quinn of Claiborne County, then fled, leading Vicksburg police officer Michael Battle on a high-speed chase south on 61 South. The chase exceeded 110 mph at times.

The chase ended just inside the Claiborne County line on Shiloh Road in a crash where the vehicle, reportedly a rental with Illinois plates, burst into flames. The crash occurred right at 5:30 p.m.

O’Quinn is in custody and received minor injuries in the crash. The woman involved received very minor injuries and is apparently safe.

Deputies with the Claiborne County Sheriff’s Department, and troopers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol assisted in O’Quinn’s capture.

Bojara O’Quinn (photo by David Day)

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Crime

Woman in custody for Friday’s shooting over a parking space

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UPDATE: Akeyah Daniels, 26, of Vicksburg, appeared before Judge Penny Lawson on Saturday in Vicksburg Municipal Court. Lawson set her bond at $50,000 and bound her over to the Warren County grand jury.

Original story:

The woman is in custody in connection with a shooting that occurred Friday, allegedly over a parking space.

The shooting took place around 3:30 p.m. Friday at an apartment building at 2230 Grove St. in Vicksburg.

Akeyah Daniels, 26, turned herself in to Vicksburg police officers at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28. She was arrested at the police station.

Three men were also briefly detained and released in connection with the shooting, according to the Vicksburg police.

Daniels faces one count of drive-by shooting is being held without bond until her initial appearance, which is taking place Saturday.

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Business

Vicksburg entrepreneurs got the basics of business ownership at boot camp

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Kendra Reed and Willie Johnson were among the dozen entrepreneurs attending the Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp. (photos submitted)

Last week participants graduated from the first Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp where 12 individuals received information to start or expand their own businesses.

Myra Harris, who recently started a company making masks, joined the boot camp shortly after her grandchildren informed her of the opportunity.

“They provided all the resources you would need to start your business, and they also made themselves available after class just in case you had any questions,” Harris said.

Vicksburg Entrepreneur Boot Camp participants. Top L to R: Marcus Dufour (Vicksburg Warren Partnership), Tim Sanford, Cathy Sanford, Olivia Foshee, Amy Warren, Patricia Anderson, Willie Johnson, Myra Harris, Ginger Donahue (Regions Bank) and Pablo Diaz (Vicksburg Warren Partnership). Bottom L to R: Gwen Green, Kendra Reed, Rob Burnham (Instructor), De’Jonae Curtis and Anthony Curtis. Not pictured William Wooten. (photo courtesy Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce)

Retired businessman Rob Burnham facilitated the class and helped the participants plan out their businesses, assisting with marketing, accounting and distribution. Marcus Dufour and Pablo Diaz from the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce hosted the class, bringing in successful entrepreneurs as speakers including Kevin Roberts who owns Fit Chef Catering in Vicksburg.

“Every speaker gave us the opportunity to ask questions, and it definitely gave me the information I need to open a business, and I would recommend the class 100%,” said participant Willie Johnson.

Johnson was born and raised in Vicksburg. He’s now retired from the military and looking to launch a consulting business, which is what led him to attending the boot camp.

By having capable individuals at the boot camp such as James Harper from the Small Business Development Center at Hinds Community College, the participants were able to learn about available grants and other resources for entrepreneurs.

Starting a business can be stressful for first time entrepreneurs, but the boot camp provided planning advice to the participants, breaking down the information that participants need to launch their businesses.

“In the business process of starting and running a business, owners get very busy running the day-to-day aspects,” said boot camp participant Kendra Reed. “Entrepreneurship Bootcamp gave me the chance to step back and plan through the whole process to prepare my new company to be successful.”

Reed is the owner of Delta Dirt Shirt, and she was proud to be a graduating member of the camp.

Now that the camp has ended, the participants are in competition for a $1,000 seed grant for the best business plan presentation. A winner will be announced Dec. 8.

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