State law requires polling places to be open and staffed - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

State law requires polling places to be open and staffed

A minimum of three poll workers are required in each precinct. (Photo source: WLOX) A minimum of three poll workers are required in each precinct. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -

Out of the seven wards in Gulfport, only one has a contested race between candidates. But, all 19 polling places are open and staffed.

Election Commissioner Ferrell Alman says citizens continue to ask why tax payer dollars are spent paying for poll workers, ballots, and tech support at polling places where there are no contested races.

"People always ask, 'If there's no opposition, why do we have to have them all?' It's state law," said Alman. "You can look at waste in all forms of government and in an election, that's part of it. There's going to be some money that has to be spent."

Gulfport's ward 7 poll manager, Glenn Cobb is responsible for transporting ballots. For his duties, Cobb will be paid $120 for the day. 

"There are two races for mayor and city council person, both people are unopposed. So, it means they already won but people want to vote for them anyway, and they have the right to do that," said Cobb. 

The two poll workers with Cobb will each make $100.

"You have all the poll workers that you do have to pay, but that's the price of freedom. People have fought for this right to vote, and freedom can come at a great cost," said Alman. 

Elias says a minimum of three poll workers are required in each precinct - a total of more than $5,000 in staffing fees for the 16 precincts that have no contested races.

"It's something that can be looked at, to be able to always look for ways to save," said Alman. "As long as the citizen's right to vote is not infringed, the legislature should look at ways to make a savings."

Officials in Diamondhead, D'Iberville, Long Beach, Pass Christian and Wiggins did not have any polling places open Tuesday because there were no contested races.

Poplarville's one precinct was open for the alderman election.

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