Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Sid Salter: Mississippi Elections

As the national debate roils over whether or not President Donald Trump and some of his appointees are actively setting up the U.S. Postal Service as an intentional impediment to mail-in voting and other early voting efforts, Mississippi is essentially on the sidelines as one few states that haven’t embraced both “no excuse” mail-in voting and early voting initiatives.


The political drama playing out on the national scene is an old one in Mississippi. Generally, Mississippi Republicans have opposed “no excuse” early voting reform efforts as ones that created electoral disadvantages for the GOP. Democrats have long countered that GOP fears of early voting fostering voter fraud are unfounded and lacking in statistically substantial evidence.

At that point, Republicans usually interject the name “Ike Brown” into the discussion. In 2007, U.S. District Judge Tom S. Lee found that Brown, then the Noxubee County Democratic Party chairman, had violated the Voting Rights Act by engaging “in improper, and in some instances fraudulent conduct, and committed blatant violations of state election laws for the purpose of diluting white voting strength.”

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Lee’s ruling in 2009, making the Brown case the first time that the Voting Right Act has been used to successfully allege voter discrimination by blacks against whites. But Brown’s legal team called the prosecution a "concerted effort by the Bush Administration to interfere with the ability of black voters to elect black officials."

The Fifth Circuit Court panel ruled Brown's "conduct was undertaken with discriminatory intent: Brown's statements indicate that he was primarily motivated by race." There have been several efforts, some led by Republicans, to bring Mississippi into the modern era on “no excuse” early voting and other reforms.

As secretary of state in 2016, current Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann led a substantial package of election reforms. But early voting has remained a political bridge too far among GOP legislators and the well-known Ike Brown model of absentee ballot manipulation remains in no small part an obstacle – despite the lack of widespread, documentable voter fraud in the state.

In Mississippi, the only "early" votes available are absentee ballots that can be requested beginning 45 days prior to an election if the voter meets one of the criteria: The voter will be out of their home county on election day (or the spouse or dependent of that voter), is temporarily or permanently disabled, or voters past age 65. College students and members of the armed forces can usually vote absentee ballots, as can members of the state’s congressional delegation.

There are other absentee voting guidelines. For more information, call the Secretary of State’s Election Hotline at 1-800-829-6786 or visit www.yallvote.sos.ms.gov.

The 2020 Mississippi Legislature tried to make some slight changes to the state’s absentee ballot laws to consider the changes in voter behavior dictated by COVID-19. There are additional absentee ballot “excuses” for COVID-19 patients or those who are caregivers for those patients. They tweaked the deadlines and appropriated $1 million in federal CARES Act funds for help the state prepare for the extra challenges in the state’s November election.

But those changes were not enough as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Mississippi Center for Justice, and the state chapter of the ACLU filed suit in Hinds County against Secretary of State Michael Watson and others to force the court to interpret in the state’s absentee ballot “excuses” to allow registered voters with “underlying health conditions” that made them susceptible to COVID-19 eligible for absentee ballots.

While the Trump administration’s Post Office battles over mail-in voting won’t directly involve Mississippi elections, our state continues to generate our own challenges. Despite the postal challenges, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended states encourage voters to cast ballots through the mail.

Sid Salter is a syndicated columnist. Contact him at sidsalter@sidsalter.com. 

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

It has been said that the USPS is a Blockbuster Video-style operation in a Nexflix market; the operating model is inefficient and broken, and arguments to maintain its status quo are not based in solid logic. Yes, the Postal Service serves a vital function, but needs to be reimagined to meet the needs of customers in 2020. People are printing postage and having packages picked up at their homes or places of business, eliminating the need for a number of bricks and mortar Post Offices.

In fact, the Changes to the Postal Service were initiated under the Obama Administration in an attempt to reduce route times and the number of stops mail carriers must make during their shift (thus the reduction of the traditional blue letter boxes).

The left seems to confuse mail-in voting with absentee voting - they could not be any more different. Simply blanketing a zip code with ballots from an inaccurate list of registered voters, former residents and dead pets is asking for fraud. Conversely, casting an absentee ballot requires a person to engage in a process whereby they are verified as eligible to vote and must show proof of identity (what's wrong with that?).

And not to mention, Dr. Fauci (the sometime hero of the left) has said that voting in person presents no more of a threat than a typical trip to the grocery store while taking recommended precautions.

And for those of you who think voter ID is racist or suppresses a segment of voters - who's really the racist...you for thinking that minorities are so hapless that they can't even secure the most basic identification, or those who wish to make sure that every vote is valid and counts?

Remember your last trip to the Post Office...do you really want these people in charge of an election?

Anonymous said...

zzzzzzzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

Casting a ballot should not be difficult, but a reasonable amount of effort should be required. Like most things in this country we want things easier, and believe me, easier is not always better. I am totally against mail-in ballots and early voting. I have worked the polls. I have seen the misrepresentation and deceit even when voting in person. I cringe to think about what goes in other forms of voting.

Anonymous said...

"despite the lack of widespread, documentable voter fraud in the state". So unless it can be proven that there is already significant voting fraud (in a state fraught with every kind of fraud imaginable), then there's no excuse for not going ahead and creating a new mechanism that would facilitate widespread fraud. Got it, Sid. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

If a $300.00 Academy Sports birthday gift card that was mailed at the post office never made it to the intended recipient, yes, bad shit can occur in the USPS system when it comes to mail in voting. Trump is absolutely correct.

Anonymous said...

Since we are going the route of Oligarchy, what does it matter. Just sit back and take what is given to you as fact.

bill said...

People don’t seem to understand that it’s impossible to go back in time and catch someone breaking a law. How can you prove how many people exceeded the speed limit on I-55 yesterday without getting caught? Successful voter fraud is similar to successful violation of the speed limits. We don’t need to implement a system that makes it easier to cheat.

Anonymous said...

No wonder the Crying Ledger is drying up. Especially with leftist writers like Sid Salter.
I worked calling a list of names from the voter poles & over 50% of the names & numbers were disconnected.
The voter poles are a big joke.
The only way to have a honest election is show up in person & voter ID checks.
If peoples can go get groceries & take their pets to the vets they can show up at the poles.
If the left can't get their way by whining they sue in liberal courts.

Anonymous said...

I generally don't have a problem with the postal workers, although it would be nice if my local carrier would stop tossing packages to the porch from 8 feet away. The requirement for ID is a tired and old excuse with no basis. I exceeded the speed limit on I-55 yesterday without getting caught and plan to do it again.

Anonymous said...

Irony: a set of circumstances or a result that is the opposite of what might be expected ex. /an irony that the firehouse burned/ source: Websters New
World Dictionary.

Lifelong residents of Mississippi are appalled at the efforts of liberals to enact "voter fraud". Historically no state surpassed Mississippi in state
sponsored voter suppression and disenfranchisement. Irony.

Anonymous said...

USPS stole nearly $1000 dollars worth of ammo from me. They claim that they lost my five 50 round boxes of Speer Lawman 9mm. I'm certain that it was lost into a postal workers car.

Jokes aside, I still can't believe JM Bullion shipped my gold and silver bullion via USPS and it actually arrived unmolested. That absolutely shocked me.

Anonymous said...

if you can "protest" in person you can vote in person

Anonymous said...

You pd $2.50 a round for 9mm? lol

Anonymous said...

@9:05 Exactly. In what other area of fraud do we say, It's not widespread so we don't need to do anything to prevent it or admit that it's an issue at all? Why does voting fraud get that special exception? Oh that's right because it's more likely to put the Left in power.

Anonymous said...

When a dead cat gets a mail in ballot it is time to rethink the whole idea.

Anonymous said...

As they say in Chicago: "Vote early and vote often."

Anonymous said...

I don't want the USPS to fail. We need it. It does need modernization, though. For people complaining about theft, buying insurance on the package is highly recommended. A no-brainer when you consider the value of what you're mailing.


My voting precinct requires voter photo ID. Doesn't yours?

Anonymous said...

If you can pay your taxes by mail you can vote by mail.

Anonymous said...

Does everyone think the USPS is somehow involved in counting mail-in ballots? They’re not. They’re only going to do what they’ve always done and forward your mail to the person or entity it is addressed to. In this instance, they would just be making sure a mailed ballot finds its way to the election commissioners for your voting district/precinct. The commissioners would still be responsible for counting ballots and certifying totals.

Also, I couldn’t be more tired of hearing about how mail-in voting opens the door to voter fraud. Study CO’s process which has been in place for half a decade. They send a ballot to each voter at their registered address. That person then fills out their ballot, signs it, puts it in the provided self-addressed envelope, seals it, signs again over the seal and places it in the mail. The USPS then processes it like it does any other mail and forwards it to the recipient, in this case the CO election commission. When the commission receives the ballot, the signatures on the envelope seal and ballot are compared against the signature on file by FBI trained examiners. If it matches, it is processed. If it doesn’t, it is sent to a department that contacts the voter to confirm/deny the authenticity of the ballot. Once you’re ballot has been counted, a master voter roll is updated to reflect your vote. They won’t count your vote twice because they can’t - you only have one entry on the master roll. Before the election results are certified, the master roll is compared to the death rolls and any person deceased the day before the election would be culled from the master election roll. Really couldn’t be any simpler. Oh, and less than 1% of all mail-in ballots submitted over the past 5 years were flagged for potential (important distinction) voter fraud (As I understand it, those instances were mainly people who moved out of state, had their mail forwarded and tried to vote in CO and their new home state. CO’s system even caught that).

So, under CO’s model, if you haven’t kept the address on your voter registration card up to date, you won’t even receive a mail-in ballot that you can submit. Since some of you favor voter identification at the polls, this shouldn’t be a problem for you. Also, your dog (or any pet for that matter) is only going to receive a ballot if you registered it to vote. And if you did that, you’re guilty of voter fraud.

So keep blustering over nothing just like both parties want you to do. We all ought to be voting electronically through our phones anyways. Hell, I have to use my fingerprint just to make a call. When you consider that and all the data Apple and Google have mined/continue to mine, there’s no question that your identity could be verified.

Anonymous said...

I really think Sid means well, but his observations have never been "earth shattering".
He writes about opinions that are obvious to both sides of any issue.

I still look forward to Robert St. John's columns.

Not only are St. John's essays more interesting and entertaining, Robert usually includes a fantastic recipe.






Anonymous said...

1:48 - For the sake of the rest of us, please limit your posts to 1500 words. Mmm thanks.

Anonymous said...

Would you send cash in the mail? Why not?

Anonymous said...

1:48 - nobody here has posited the idea that the USPS is in any way involved in the counting of ballots, however they play a critical role in delivering ballots to the correct recipient and returning them in a timely manner.

USPS has time and again proven that they are not up to the task for such a critical task. If it's safe to protest in person, then it's safe to vote in person.

Anonymous said...

More Republicans would vote than Democrats, I just don't get why they haven't figured that out yet.

Anonymous said...

More Republicans would vote than Democrats, I just don't get why they haven't figured that out yet.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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