Voters may begin casting absentee ballots in Mississippi municipal primary elections

New Albany Municipal Clerk Frankie Roberts
February 24th, 2021     Featured News Government & Politics

Qualified voters may begin casting absentee ballots in Mississippi municipal party primary elections this week.

New Albany Municipal Clerk Frankie Roberts said she hopes to be able to allow absentee balloting for the April 6 primaries Thursday.

Here, voters will decide on candidates running for mayor, chief of police, alderman-at-large and aldermen for Wards One through Four.

The Village of Blue Springs will vote on a mayor and five aldermen-at-large. The same would be true for the Town of Myrtle except they have just enough candidates to fill the offices so a formal election will not be necessary.

Most North Mississippi cities will vote on a mayor and aldermen or council members; New Albany remains one of few cities that elects a chief of police.

New Albany absentee voting will be slightly different

Monday, Feb. 22, was the official first day absentee voting was allowed but New Albany officials were waiting on the arrival of a special printer needed for the ballots. A shipping delay may have been contributed to by the winter storm this past week.

In the past, election officials have usually had absentee ballots specially printed in Jackson and shipped to the respective clerks. This could be expensive, there could be delays in receiving ballots and clerks could be stuck with unneeded ballots after an election.

The special printing was needed to make sure the ballots could be optically scanned.

This year, New Albany will be using software free on a trial basis that will allow Roberts to print absentee ballots on demand. The ballots are capable of being scanned, can be printed on less expensive paper and the clerk will only have to print as many as needed. No one will have to wait on ballots.

Where everyone will vote

Another change for New Albany city elections this year that officials want to publicize will be the location.

Voting has occurred in the county courthouse hallway for many years, but space there is still limited and voting interferes with regular courthouse traffic.

Now that the community center at 107 Wilson Street has been renovated, the primaries, runoffs if needed and general election will be held there. Parking is available around the blocks and city officials may be able to establish some off-street parking where the municipal swimming pool used to be before the primaries.

A nomination, not an election

The April 6 vote will be a nominating process technically, rather than an election.

Winners of the primaries will be the respective party nominees who will represent those parties on the general election ballot June 8.

Since they are party primaries, voters will have to choose whether to participate in the Democratic primary or the Republican primary.

If no candidate in a primary receives more than 50 percent of the vote a runoff will be needed. Voters who cast ballots in one party’s primary cannot “cross over” and vote in the other party’s runoff.

A mixture of Democratic, Republican and Independent candidates may appear on the June 8 ballot and voters may choose any combination they wish.

Who can vote absentee

There are several exceptions that allow a voter to cast an absentee ballot, either in person at City Hall or by mail.

Permitted reasons to use an absentee ballot include the voter’s being outside of his or her home county on Election Day, being a “student, teacher or administrator at a school whose studies or employment there necessitates” absence from the voter’s home county on Election Day (spouses and dependents of such voters are also eligible to vote absentee), being disabled or being the parent or spouse of a disabled person hospitalized outside the county and more than 50 miles away on Election Day, being 65 years old or older, and being required to work Election Day during the polling hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The legislature allowed an exception for people related to COVID-19 in this past year’s general election, allowing them to vote absentee rather than showing up in person.

That exception said a temporary or permanent physical disability may “may include, but is not limited to, a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 during the year 2020.  Or, I am caring for a dependent that is under a physician-imposed quarantine due to COVID-19 beginning with the effective date of this act and the same being repealed on December 31, 2020.”

That exception apparently did in fact expire at the end of the year.

A person may vote an absentee ballot by mail, if qualified.

The voter needs to make a request to the municipal clerk, who will send a printed application as well as an absentee ballot itself. Both must follow certification procedures and mailed back at the same time – but mailed separately in separate provided envelopes.

Absentee ballots will not be opened and counted until the day of the election.

Deadlines

Monday, March 8, is the last day to register to vote, or update voter registration information, to be able to participate in the April 6 primary.

Roberts said her office in City Hall will be open Saturday, March 6, from 8 a.m. to noon for the convenience of those who want to register or vote absentee. Saturday, April 3, will be the deadline for absentee voting in person and Roberts’ office will be open from 8 a.m. until noon that day.

Who will be on the ballots

Below are the names of candidates on each of the two primaries (“i” means the candidate is the incumbent). Voters will have to choose which of the two to participate in. Independent candidates will not be on the ballot until the June 8 general election.

 

Democratic Primary

__________________________

Mayor

James Dean

__________________________

Chief of Police

None

__________________________

Alderman-at-large

None

__________________________

Ward One Alderman

Jessica Winston

__________________________

Ward Two Alderman

Gary Edwards

Tim Johnson

__________________________

Ward Three Alderman

Penney Blissett

Kevin Dale White (i)

__________________________

Ward Four Alderman

None

 

OR

 

Republican Primary

__________________________

Mayor

Chuck Garrett

Tim Kent (i)

__________________________

Chief of Police

Chris Robertson (i)

__________________________

Alderman-at-large

Keith Conlee (i)

Jeff Knox

__________________________

Ward One Alderman

Mark Bishop

Judith Bennett Foley

William Ashley Kidd

__________________________

Ward Two Alderman

Jim Gann

Adam Hardy

David Drew Horn

__________________________

Ward Three Alderman

None

__________________________

Ward Four Alderman

Diane Jones

Ronnie Parker

Will Tucker (i)

 

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

About NEMiss.NEWS

NEMiss.NEWS is a locally owned and operated online news magazine containing news, information, opinion, etc. of interest to residents of Northeast Mississippi. NEMiss.NEWS was founded in 2014 and is a division of Shivimage, LLC, and began publishing in early 2015. read more>>

Northeast Mississippi's Online News Source