Presidential absentee ballots ready

Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford watches as the computer downloads vote totals from precincts.
February 4th, 2020     Featured Government & Politics

Union County Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford has absentee ballots ready for the presidential preference primary scheduled for March 10.

Voters will select their preference for Democratic and Republican nominees for president, senator and representative and winners will be placed on the general election ballot Nov. 3.

Voters will have to choose either a Democratic or Republican ballot March 10, but a mixture of party candidates will be on the same ballot Nov. 10. State law says a person may vote in a party primary only if he or she “intends to support the nominations made in the primary in which he participates.” There is no realistic way to enforce this, however.

If no candidate receives at least 50 percent of the total vote in the primary, the top two vote-getters will face each other in a run-off March 31. That’s only likely to happen in the Democratic presidential primary, due to the large number of candidates to divide votes.

Next Monday, Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register to vote or to update voter information for the upcoming election.

Stanford said her office will be open this Saturday, Feb. 8, from 8 a.m. until noon for the convenience of those who want to register or cast an absentee ballot.

Who can vote an absentee ballot

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.

Republican voters will have limited choices March 10 with three candidates for president and unopposed candidates for U. S. Representative and U. S. Senator.

Democrats will have 10 choices for president (although some may have dropped out of the campaign) and three candidates for U. S. Senator. They have only one candidate for U. S. Representative.

While most primary elections are for choosing a party nominee, the presidential preference primary determines how delegates will vote at their respective national conventions.

How does the presidential preference primary work?

Mississippi is one of six states with six votes in the Electoral College, making it tied for 30th-most, according to the non-profit site Ballotpedia.

Mississippi was carried by the Republican presidential nominee in every election between 1980 and 2016; the last Democrat to carry the state was Jimmy Carter. Between 1900 and 2016, Mississippi backed the Democratic presidential candidate in 50 percent of elections and the Republican candidate in 40 percent, according to the site.

In the 2016 election, Donald Trump (R) carried Mississippi with 57.9 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton’s (D) 40.1 percent.

Mississippi will have an estimated 41 Democratic delegates comprising 36 pledged delegates and five superdelegates. Delegate allocation is proportional to votes cast.

The Democratic Party will select its presidential nominee at the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, Wisc. July 13-16.

Mississippi will have an estimated 39 delegates. Delegate allocation is proportional.

The Republican Party will select its presidential nominee at the 2020 Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Aug. 24-27.

New law affects residency requirement

Locally, Stanford said election officials have been informed of a little-publicized new law that probably will not affect this election much, but may do so in the future.

Senate Bill 2030 states that any candidate for municipal, county or county district office must be a resident of that municipality, county or county district for two year immediately before the election. The law does not apply to municipalities with populations of fewer than 1,000 residents.

Before now, some offices have had minimal or no residency requirements. The new law does not change most state-level office requirements.

The only local race the new law might relate to is for Union County Election Commissioner, since the qualifying period for those five district offices runs through June 1.

Although it will not be on the primary ballot, a proposed constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana will be on the ballot in November.

Sample ballots:


For United States President

  • Joseph R. Biden
  • Michael R. Bloomberg
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Deval Patrick
  • Bernie Sanders
  • Tom Steyer
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Andrew Yang

For United States Senate

  • Tobey Bernard Bartee
  • Jensen Bohren
  • Mike Espy

For U. S. House of Representatives

1stCongressional District

  • Antonia Eliason



For United States President

  • Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente
  • Donald J. Trump
  • Bill Weid

For United States Senate

  • Cindy Hyde-Smith

For U. S. House of Representatives

1stCongressional District

  • Trent Kelly







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