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Secretary of State Watson provides post Election Day update

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(Photo by Phil Roeder from Des Moines, IA, USA - 11.2.2010 291/365, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79215983)

On Election Day, the Mississippi secretary of state’s office received more than 1,300 calls from voters with common, election-related questions or reports of minor problems at polling places. Other than longer, unexpected wait times due to high voter turnout, no major, statewide issues were reported.

“I cannot say enough about the perseverance, flexibility and commitment from our circuit clerks, election commissioners and poll managers on Election Day,” said Secretary of State Michael Watson in a statement. “They did something their predecessors never had to worry about: execute a general election in the middle of a global pandemic. Let’s also not forget about our election officials along the Coast who had to couple the stress of the pandemic with the aftermath of a Category 2 hurricane. While some may view the long lines on Election Day as troublesome, I view it as a win for our county election officials, an encouraging display of civic engagement and an opportunity to strengthen our state’s voting process.

“As all of us debrief the 2020 Election Cycle, I’m seeing and hearing countless suggestions about ways to improve our voting system. Before any changes are made, it’s essential to receive input from the individuals engaged in the election process. Whether it’s introducing new technology, adding additional machines within precincts and/or additional precincts, adding more poll managers, increased training or more voter education, clerks, commissioners, and legislative leaders should have a seat at the table. Earlier this year, i made a commitment to meet and have in-depth discussions with clerks and commissioners in all 82 counties. As of today, we’ve met with 26 counties and received beneficial feedback and ideas regarding our state’s overall election process. I look forward to continuing these discussions and brainstorming ways to make it as easy as possible for all legally registered Mississippi voters to cast their ballot, while maintaining a sharp focus on upholding the integrity of the process.”

Thankfully, the cybersecurity team detected no abnormal activity on the secretary of state websites or the Statewide Election Management System during Election Day. As of Friday, Nov. 6, SEMS reported Mississippians requested 248,558 absentee ballots, clerks sent out 248,003 absentee ballots and 238,427 absentee ballots were received for the 2020 General Election.

As a reminder, Tuesday, Nov. 10, is the day circuit clerk offices must be in receipt of all mail-in absentee ballots postmarked on or before Election Day.

Under our new administrative rules, if an absentee ballot is rejected because the signature on the absentee application does not match the signature on the absentee ballot envelope, circuit clerk offices must notify that voter of the rejection and give them an opportunity to cure the ballot. Voters have the option to complete a cure form at their local circuit clerk’s office, or the circuit clerk will mail, email or fax a cure form to the voter. For the absentee ballot to count, all cure forms must be completed and filed with the county by noon Friday, Nov. 13.

Any voter who cast an affidavit ballot on Election Day because the voter did not have an acceptable form of photo ID must visit their local circuit clerk’s office by Tuesday, Nov. 10, to show an acceptable form of photo identification. As a reminder, voters can receive a free Mississippi Voter ID card by filling out an application at their local circuit clerk’s office. The secretary of state’s office has issued more than 8,000 free voter IDs since the voter ID law became effective in 2014.

Click here to learn more about how to obtain a free Voter ID.

As counties release unofficial results, the office has received numerous questions about the next steps for each statewide ballot measure. Please see below for information regarding the implementation process for Initiative 65/Alternative Measure 65A, House Concurrent Resolution 47 and the State Flag Referendum.

  • Initiative 65/Alternative Measure 65A
    • The secretary of state’s office has 30 days from Election Day to certify results from the 2020 General Election. Pursuant to Section 23-17-41 Mississippi Code Ann., “an initiative approved by the electors shall take effect 30 days from the date of the official declaration of the vote by the Secretary of State, unless the measure provides otherwise.”
  • House Concurrent Resolution 47
    • The Secretary of State’s Office has 30 days from Election Day to certify results from 2020 General Election. Once all results are certified and if the amendment received a majority of the vote required by the Constitution, the amendment will be inserted in the state constitution through a proclamation from our office.
  • State Flag Referendum
    • The Secretary of State’s Office has 30 days from Election Day to certify results from 2020 General Election. Once all results are certified and if a majority of the qualified electors voted “Yes,” to the proposed design, then “the Legislature shall enact into law the new design as the official Mississippi state flag during the next regular session of the Legislature after the election.” (Pursuant to House Bill 1796)

As a reminder, the secretary’s office will not announce unofficial election results. We will only announce and post certified election results submitted to our office by the counties. Counties have 10 calendar days from Election Day to file certified results. All certified election results from the 2020 Election Cycle will be posted here on our website.

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.

Events

MDHS hosting virtual townhalls for child-care providers beginning Nov. 9

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(photo by Omar Medina Films from Pixabay)

Child care is a crucial support system for Mississippi, and the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Early Childhood Care and Development is committed to taking action to support child care programs and the families they serve.

To ensure they are providing the best assistance in training, technical assistance and quality support currently available, DECCD is hosting a series of Virtual Town Hall meetings throughout November. Child care providers will be able to voice their feedback and ideas about agency-funded services

There will be six sessions, three from 11 a.m. to noon, and three from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Each provider that participates will have an opportunity to speak about their experience with existing quality support services and share ideas for improving those services.

“I often say child care represents the backbone of the workforce,” said Dr. Chad Allgood, director of DECCD in a statement. “Without child care we couldn’t work. It is extremely important that we understand how important child care is, and provide the support our child care providers need to be successful.”

In the interest of giving everyone an opportunity to speak, DECCD will limit responses to three minutes, and they will give additional time for responses at the end of each session, as time allows. Additionally, they will share a link during the sessions where providers who would prefer to give a written response can send in their written feedback.

“Our businesses rely on child care to sustain their workforce, and now more than ever we need to make sure quality child care is available for working parents,” said Robert G. “Bob” Anderson, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. “Their voice is important, so I would encourage them to take advantage of this opportunity to provide their feedback.”

The dates and times for the sessions will be:

Monday, Nov. 9 • 11 a.m. to noon
https://mdhs.zoom.us/s/95892506626
Meeting ID: 958 9250 6626

Monday, Nov. 9 • 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
https://mdhs.zoom.us/s/93419381428
Meeting ID: 934 1938 1428

Thursday, Nov. 12 • 11 a.m. to noon
https://mdhs.zoom.us/s/98231738371
Meeting ID: 982 3173 8371

Thursday, Nov. 12 • 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
https://mdhs.zoom.us/s/99408855592
Meeting ID: 994 0885 5592

Wednesday, Nov. 18 • 11 a.m. to noon
https://mdhs.zoom.us/s/92468593929
Meeting ID: 924 6859 3929

Wednesday, Nov. 18 • 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
https://mdhs.zoom.us/s/96341151652
Meeting ID: 963 4115 1652

For more information and a link to all the meetings, visit https://secac.ms.gov/infosessions.

For more information on the Division of Early Childhood Care and Development and the services it offers, visit https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/early-childhood-care-development/.

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Crime

VPD reports auto burglaries and thefts

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The Vicksburg Police Department reported two auto burglaries and a case of auto theft that occurred Thursday, Nov. 5.

At 6:41 a.m., officers responded to a residence in the 2200 block of Martin Luther King Boulevard in reference to an auto burglary. The victim stated a .38-caliber handgun valued at $400 and a Michael Kors book bag valued at $200 were taken from her 2017 Mercedes-Benz.

At 9:01 a.m. officers responded to 1801 Poplar St. in reference to the several auto thefts. The victim reported a 2009 Kia, two Chevrolet Impalas and a Nissan Altima were taken from the lot. He advised none of the vehicles were in working condition.

At 12:23 p.m. officers responded to Cappaert Manufactured Housing, 6200 Highway 61 South, in reference to an auto burglary. The victim stated his .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol was taken out of his 2005 GMC Denali Nov. 2.

If you have information on any of these incidents, please call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511.

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Crime

Vicksburg man arrested for two thefts

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David Lee Sanders (photo courtesy VPD)

The Vicksburg Police Department arrested a man early Friday morning for two thefts reported Wednesday.

Officers arrested David Lee Sanders, 38, of Vicksburg at 4:58 a.m. Friday near the intersection of Indiana Avenue and South Frontage Road. Sanders was wanted in connection to two thefts reported Wednesday: a generator from a pickup truck at the Econo Lodge, 3959 East Clay St., and a vehicle engine from Hillcrest Conoco, 3886 U.S. Highway 61 South.

Sanders was charged with two counts of grand larceny and appeared before Judge Penny Lawson in Vicksburg Municipal Court later Friday. Lawson set a $5,000 bond for each charge and bound him over to the Warren County grand jury.

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