Elections in Winston ‘absolutely’ fair: Circuit Clerk

From staff and press reports

 

Mississippi and local officials note that everyone should have full confidence in the integrity of state elections.

“The election will be fair,” said Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly implied voter fraud or a rigged election if he loses.

Hosemann said that will not be the case.

“We have so many people working so hard to get this right,” he said. “Mississippi is extremely vigilant about this. I am not saying there are not problems here and there, but as far as a rigged election, it is not happening in Mississippi.”

The three-term secretary of state pointed to the extensive training for the 410 election commissioners across the state and for the circuit clerks who directly oversee the elections in Mississippi’s 82 counties.

“The circuit clerks do a great job,” Hosemann said.

Winston County Circuit Clerk Kim Ming said, “We work hard to check obituaries in the Winston County Journal, the statewide system with the Department of Human Services, and coroner’s death reports. We make every effort to insure no dead people vote in Winston County.”

She added that her office and the election commissioners diligently make sure those who have moved out of the county do not vote. “We work with the Department of Public Safety and U.S. Postal Service to make sure anyone moved out of the county does not vote in the county. The election commissioners confirm this by mail out cards to confirm.”

“The election commissioners stay on top of our voter rolls as far as purging people” who are no longer are eligible to vote because they have moved out of the county. She said commissioners continuously check to ensure people who have died are removed from voter rolls.

In addition to the training before the Nov. 8 election, Hosemann said he will have staff on the road on election day to monitor the polls for potential problems.

Hosemann said someone from his staff should be able to get to any precinct in the state within 30 minutes on election day to deal with problems.

 

Secretary Hosemann Remains Vigilant in Protecting Voter Information,

Urges Voters to Remain Calm Amid Security Concerns

The Statewide Elections Management System (SEMS), the database housing Mississippi’s voter registration information, has not been breached by hackers. Still, the Secretary of State’s Office is remaining vigilant.

Security measures protecting SEMS from unauthorized intrusion include:

  • Daily monitoring of the database;
  • Geographic exclusion of foreign IP addresses;
  • Maintaining a mirrored site in another location;
  • Maintaining back-up records housed with a third-party vendor;
  • Securing the database behind two firewalls and an Intrusion Prevention System;
  • Encrypting all virtual actions between an end user’s personal computer and SEMS; and
  • Contracting with a third-party vendor to test vulnerability.

“No system is ever completely safe, but Mississippi voters can rest assured we have taken every possible precaution in advance of November 8 Election Day,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said.

Circuit Clerks and Election Commissioners with access to SEMS have also been encouraged to take precautions, such as refraining from sharing their logon information with any other person.

Additionally, the Secretary of State’s Office is in communication with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has commended the Agency for its diligence in protecting SEMS information. The security measures previously listed are redundant, and in some cases above and beyond, the measures DHS offered to states nationwide to secure their databases.

Secretary Hosemann stressed SEMS is distinguishable from the approximately 7,000 voting machines used in more than 1,800 precincts across the State. Mississippi’s voting machines are not connected to the Internet, and are therefore “essentially calculators,” Secretary Hosemann said.

“The only way to steal Mississippians’ votes is by physically accessing each of the machines,” Secretary Hosemann said. “With the way polling places are organized and staffed, and the way our machines tabulate votes, it is implausible that any individual or group could ever change the outcome of an election.”

Mississippi’s elections are “free and fair,” Secretary Hosemann added.

“We have a sound voter ID law in this State, trained observers, and competent local election commissioners who are prepared for any scenario,” he said. “As Chief Elections Officer, I can assure the voters in Mississippi the results certified when the November 8 General Election concludes will reflect the will of the voters in this State.”

State law provides only local election commissioners, who run Mississippi elections, and designated poll workers are permitted to remain in precincts on Election Day. Federal and state observers are also permitted to remain in precincts, along with credentialed poll watchers present on behalf of the political parties and candidates. Loitering is not permitted within 30 feet, and campaigning is prohibited within 150 feet, of a polling place.

For more information about State election laws, visit the Secretary of State’s web site or call the Elections Division at (601) 576-2550.