Problems Persist in First Half of Election Day | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Problems Persist in First Half of Election Day

Dozens of gold-shirted volunteers at the NAACP's Protect the Vote headquarters are busily fielding a steady stream of calls from across the state to the organization's voter helpline.

Dozens of gold-shirted volunteers at the NAACP's Protect the Vote headquarters are busily fielding a steady stream of calls from across the state to the organization's voter helpline. Photo by R.L. Nave.

It is the best of elections. It is the worst of elections. It just depends on whom you ask.

Dozens of gold-shirted volunteers at the NAACP's Protect the Vote headquarters are busily fielding a steady stream of calls from across the state to the organization's voter helpline.

"Things are going well," said Yumeka Rushing, who is in charge of the call center located at the Masonic Temple near Jackson State University.

At the time a Jackson Free Press reporter visited around 10 a.m., Rushing said they had fielded 101 resolved complaints and 42 open complaints. Other polling places the JFP visited in Brownsville and Jackson also experienced brisk voter participation with no reported difficulties.

Among the grievances the NAACP has received include long lines, broken machines, polling places opening more than an hour late and insufficient numbers of paper ballots at some locales. Other calls the NAACP is receiving include one polling station that displayed a sign that photo identification would be required to cast a ballot, and President Barack Obama's and Court of Appeals Judge E.J. Russell's names not appearing on ballots at two separate polling places.

In addition to the voter complaint line (1-866-601-VOTE), NAACP volunteers are live blogging registered complaints at 601vote.blogspot.com.

The frequency and types of calls observed pouring into the Protect the Vote call center stand in contrast to reports going to the Mississippi Secretary of State's office. According to a statement from Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann's office, only "minor problems" have been reported this morning.

They include:

  • Hinds County: Terry Volunteer Fire Department: Long lines reported. Voters are walking far distances to cast their ballot. Hinds County Sheriff's Department is on site to direct traffic.
  • Stone County: One precinct is without power; voting machines are working from battery-powered devices.
  • Scott County: Issue where some machines were either not plugged in and another was knocked over. A county tech was dispatched to the location, and the machines were up and running by 7:36 am.
  • Counties with printers attached to the voting machines will only show a "D" or an "R" under the presidential race, due to a lack of character space on the printer tapes on the machines. Thirty-eight (38) of the 77 counties that use voting machines have received preclearance from the Department of Justice to remove the printers from the machines. Those counties include: Adams, Alcorn, Amite, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clay, Copiah, Forrest, George, Grenada, Hancock, Harrison, Itawamba, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jones, Lawrence, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, Marion, Monroe, Neshoba, Oktibbeha, Panola, Pearl River, Perry, Prentiss, Simpson, Smith, Stone, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Union, Wayne, Winston, Yazoo.

Mississippi polls close at 7 p.m., and everyone who is in line at 7 p.m. must be allowed to cast a ballot. The NAACP helpline will remain open as long as necessary.

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