Jackson Co. poll workers train for election day

By Patrice Clark - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - "I know I will have a smooth election at my precinct."

Ernestine Hutchins considers herself a pro at the polls. She's worked numerous elections and she believes November 4th will be a history maker.

"People are all geared up for it and I am excited. I would like to see everybody that comes in the polls get a fair chance to vote," Hutchins said.

Hutchins joined dozens of new and seasoned poll workers at the Jackson County Civic Center Tuesday to learn the rules and regulations for handling 40 precincts and more than 77,000 voters.

Election Commissioner Ben Sanford said each worker should be serious and focused on the job, because it's extremely easy to make mistakes.

"Documentation, we have made mistakes. And when we do affidavit ballots, you have to be firm. Because some people want to vote when they are not eligible to vote and they get a little pushy," Sanford said.

Properly operating the touch screen voting machines is also high on Sanford's list. He gave a hands on lesson to poll workers.

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to be able to step up to these machines and get them going."

But he admits the systems tend to malfunction at times.

"You have to know how to do basic trouble shooting, because freeze screens is one of the problems we encounter," Sanford said.

This will be Theresa Pittman's second time helping voters cast their ballots, and she's still a little nervous.

"Goose bumps, goose bumps," Pittman said, thinking about election day.

Hopefully her special prayer will ensure a successful voting day.

"That we find your name in the polling book and we can use the machines," Pittman said.

Election Commissioner Ben Sanford says 350 workers will man the polls in Jackson County. He says that's a big increase compared to previous election years.