Top election officials place blame for ballot change costs

Top election officials place blame for ballot change costs
Dr. Willie Wilson (Photo source: Twitter)
Dr. Willie Wilson (Photo source: Twitter)

JACKSON, MS (WLOX) - The Secretary of State's Office said it will cost Mississippi hundreds of thousands of dollars to add a name to the Democratic Presidential Primary ballot.

On Feb. 25, 2016, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered the Secretary of State's Office to add Willie Wilson to the ballot. While Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office appealed the decision, citing already printed absentee ballots, the Supreme Court issued a revised decision placing Wilson on all other ballots for the March 8 primary.

The Secretary of State's Office estimates the change will cost Mississippians hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additionally, it says the state's Democratic Party is to blame.

"This case is totally the result of a failure by the Mississippi Democratic Party. Mississippi Circuit Clerks, Election Commissioners and the Secretary of State were not at fault in this matter," a media release from Hosemann's office said.

Rickey Cole, Chairman with the Mississippi Democratic Party, claims that's not the case.

"The Secretary of State's Office controls the statewide elections management system. When we contacted the office to correct the ballot in January, the Secretary of State's Office refused to make the necessary correction, saying it was too late," Cole told WLOX New Now. "The Secretary of State's Office made an administrative decision to ignore the Democratic Party's instruction to put Willie Wilson on the ballot. That's why the Supreme Court ordered the secretary of state to put Willie Wilson on the ballot."

Wilson's name will appear on the Democratic Presidential Primary Ballot on Tuesday, March 8. All absentee ballots will continue to exclude Wilson's name. However, Hosemann's office said overseas voters will receive a revised ballot.

To comply with the Uniformed and Overseas Absentee Voting Act, Democratic voters who request a Democratic Primary absentee ballot between today and Tuesday, March 8, will be provided the revised Democratic Primary absentee ballot. If voters cast the ballot previously sent, it will still be counted on election night.

UOCAVA absentee ballots must be postmarked no later than Tuesday, March 8, 2016. Those ballots must be received by Circuit Clerk offices no later than 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 17.

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