Jackson Primary Voter Turnout May Be 'Disappointing,' Secretary of State Says | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Jackson Primary Voter Turnout May Be 'Disappointing,' Secretary of State Says

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann told reporters that he is disappointed, so far, in what voter turnout looks like for the Jackson primary municipal election next week, although it has not happened yet.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann told reporters that he is disappointed, so far, in what voter turnout looks like for the Jackson primary municipal election next week, although it has not happened yet. Photo by Arielle Dreher.

— Jacksonians will go to the polls in a week to vote in the primary mayoral and city council elections, and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he's "disappointed" so far with what appears could be a low voter turnout.

So far, the Jackson City Clerk has collected 211 absentee ballots, Hosemann told reporters at the Capitol this morning. Absentee ballots usually make up about 5 percent of votes cast in an election, he said, so if those numbers do not dramatically increase in the next week, that means fewer Jacksonians will vote than did in the Democratic primary election in March 2016. More than 35,000 Hinds County residents voted in that Democratic primary.

"These people actually run local government, so you need to go vote," Hosemann said. "And if you don't care about them, then think about those guys in the foxhole out there in Syria today ... there's no excuse for this, we've become so lazy about our voting rights and the fact that people die to give you these voting rights, and here you won't even go cast a ballot."

If voter turnout ends up being that low for the May 2 primaries, Hosemann said one person's vote will count for three or four Jacksonians' vote, meaning a candidate might only need a few thousand votes to advance to a run-off. Jackson is a Democratic stronghold, and Hosemann said he had anticipated a greater turnout for the primary election, which is sure to decide who will be the next mayor.

Ten Democratic candidates are running for mayor in a race that will likely go to a run-off. A candidate needs 51 percent of the vote to win a race, but with so many candidates, someone winning without a run-off election is unlikely.

"In a multi-race like Jackson, it's very doubtful that there will be a 51-percent (winner), I anticipate a Democratic run-off in three weeks," Hosemann said.

The top two candidates will advance to a run-off election on May 16, and Hosemann said it is going to be a close race in Jackson. Staff from the Secretary of State's elections division will monitor elections in the city. Two Republicans, three Independent candidates and one Libertarian are also running for mayor of the city of Jackson.

Candidates of opposing parties will be on the ballot in June for the general election.

Read interviews with mayoral candidates and more election news at jfp.ms/election2017. Email reporter Arielle Dreher at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @arielle_amara.

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