State Secretary visits Jackson County ahead of implementing new voting system

Jackson County replaced the old TSX Touchscreen voting machines with New Paper Ballot Scanner Machines.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:24 PM CST
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson visited Jackson County Tuesday for the final stop of his 82-county tour across the state.

He held a meeting with local elections workers before announcing the end of his trip during a press conference.

“I want to learn from y’all,” he said during the meeting. “Y’all are the experts. Y’all know this a lot better than I do.”

When he took office three years ago, Watson committed to personally visiting every county’s elections officials during his first term.

“As I think through this, I don’t know that any other secretary of state has ever been able to do this,” he said during the press conference.

His journey across the state came to an end in his hometown of Pascagoula.

“Our clerks and commissioners, they really do the hard work,” he told WLOX. “So, I want to say thank you to them across the state.”

“He’s really busy. He’s all over the state, and so, we don’t usually have time to sit down and talk one-on-one,” Election Commission Chairman Danny Glaskox said. “I was able to ask him some questions that I have, that I’ve had for a long time, and he’s very concerned about them.”

Watson’s timing of the trip couldn’t be better as Jackson County is now implementing an all-new voting system.

Jackson County replaced its old TSX Touchscreen voting machines with new Paper Ballot Scanner Machines.

The new system uses Elections Systems & Software DS200 Ballot Scanners and ExpressVote Touchscreen machines.

“We have all of our new equipment in. We have not been trained on it yet. Everybody is going to be using paper ballots. That’s the big change,” Glasskow said. “Other counties are already using them, and I’ve already been talking to some of those just trying to find out what kind of bugs they go through. So, I’m trying to get ahead of the bullet.”

It’s a change Jackson County voters will see when they head to the polls in August.

“You can go back to that paper ballot to make sure that the votes cast were the votes that were counted,” Watson added. “And I think that’s going to help Mississippians in returning confidence to the process.”

According to a press release, some counties reported never being visited by a state secretary. That is, until now.

“Building those relationships has been really important, making sure they understand that elections is a teamwork experience,” Watson said.

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