Secretary of State: It's Legal To Cast a Partial Ballot in Primaries | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Secretary of State: It's Legal To Cast a Partial Ballot in Primaries

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi voters on Tuesday are choosing Democratic and Republican nominees for governor and lieutenant governor.

Three other statewide races have Republican primaries only. They are for auditor, treasurer and insurance commissioner.

Polls are open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and voters are required to show a driver's license or other government-issued photo identification.

Ballots would also include some primaries for public service commissioner and transportation commissioner. A long list of legislative primaries will be decided.

On the county level, voters will choose party nominees for sheriff, supervisor, circuit clerk, chancery clerk and other offices.

If runoffs are needed, they will be Aug. 25. Democratic and Republican nominees will advance to the Nov. 3 general election, when some third-party candidates also will be on the ballot.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, the state's top elections official, did not predict how many people might vote. Temperatures were expected to hit the high 90s in many parts of the state, and Hosemann suggested people vote during midmorning or midafternoon to avoid the longer lines that are typical as people head to work early or return home at the end of the day.

Hosemann said in a news release Monday that his office has received calls from people who want to vote in some races and not others in a particular party primary. He said it's legal to cast an incomplete ballot — voting, for example, in the governor's primary but skipping the primary for a down-ticket race such as coroner or county supervisor.

"Voter 'drop-off' does not void a ballot, and choosing to vote only in particular races does not void a ballot," Hosemann said.

Republican primaries for auditor and treasurer have grabbed attention in recent weeks.

The challenger in the auditor's race, Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, criticizes two-term incumbent Stacey Pickering for using his campaign fund to pay for travel and other personal expenses. Pickering says his spending is aboveboard.

The challenger in the treasurer's race, David McRae, says one-term incumbent Lynn Fitch has mismanaged a state-sponsored college savings plan. Fitch says she has gotten the plan back into good financial shape.

Hosemann said his office has received complaints about anonymous, misleading fliers being mailed in some races questioning candidates' positions on issues such as gun rights.

"These mailers are not only gutless, but illegal," Hosemann said. "This type of politics denigrates the entire voting process, promotes voter apathy and discourages future candidates. We believe in the right to free speech, but we also believe in the right to recourse. We encourage Mississippians to consider their source of information when choosing a candidate and rely on credible resources."

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