Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann isn’t very optimistic about voter turnout for this year’s municipal elections — and he’s reaching out to voters across Mississippi to do what he can to remedy that.
“This is literally where the rubber meets the road,” Hosemann said at a press conference Thursday at the Trent Lott National Center. “Your municipal elections are the individuals who give you police protection and fire protection, they manage your streets, they pick up your garbage.
“Everything that goes on in day-to-day life comes out of your municipalities and their governance, and the selection of that governance is just as important.”
As of Thursday, officials from Hattiesburg City Hall had received 87 absentee ballots for the upcoming May 2 primary election. Hosemann said 4-5 percent of registered voters typically vote absentee, so he’s hopeful the small number of absentee ballots is not reflective of the actual turnout in Hattiesburg for the primary.
He has so far been disappointed in the expected voter turnout in other areas around the state, including Jackson.
“They have a very heavily contested Democratic primary — there are about 12 or 13 people in it,” he said. “But they only had 211 (Wednesday) that had actually cast an absentee ballot, and that’s not a good sign.
“Now, either people don’t care, or the candidates aren’t ringing them and asking them if they’re going to be in town. I was just disappointed.”
Hosemann also took the opportunity to present the 2016-2020 Mississippi Official and Statistical Register, informally known as the Blue Book.
The book, which has been published since the early 1900s, features information on state and county officials, government agencies, boards and commissions and election returns. A digital version of the book can be found at the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.ms.gov.
This year’s version of the Blue Book is the Bicentennial edition and offers 59 pages of Mississippi history, beginning with the Magnolia State’s 1817 beginnings and leading up to the present date. That section features several businesses, business leaders and other members of communities across the state, including sports legends and renowned artists and authors.
“It shows you who got elected here, who didn’t get elected, what the vote totals were in various primaries — those kinds of things are in here,” Hosemann said. “All of the economic developers are in here, all the information about each county is in here.
“We’re real proud of it. I think the Legislature was right to authorize the publishing of it, and we’re glad to have it distributed today.”