The Hinds County Election Commission is preparing for a possible COVID-19 emergency on Election Day by partnering with Jackson State University. Photo courtesy JSU
In Hinds County, voters may have to use Jackson State University locations as emergency polling places for the Nov. 3 general election, the Hinds County Election Commission Chairwoman Toni Johnson said at a press conference Wednesday.
Jackson State is partnering with the commission by offering the Lee E. Williams Athletic and Assembly Center on campus and the nearby Mississippi E-center as emergency polling centers. The commission will train 50 JSU students to stand by to serve as poll workers if needed.
"The AAC is approximately 111,000 square feet," Johnson said. "The students of Jackson State University will be voting in the AAC this November due to COVID-19."
As she did on Aug. 3, Johnson announced three precinct changes due to COVID-19 and said that the county has notified affected voters.
"Notifications have been sent out to students, and Hinds County today has sent out approximately 7,018 postcards to voters regarding precinct changes," she said. "We want to remind you that we will be providing PPE, face masks, shields, Lysol spray, hand sanitizers. Each voter will have their own disposable pen."
JSU Acting President Thomas K. Hudson told the press that he hopes the partnership will encourage more students to vote.
"We are very proud to partner with Ms. Johnson and the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, in offering this opportunity for the university to really help in this voting process," he said. "We felt this will encourage more people to come out, more of our students to come out (because there will be) social distancing,"
Johnson said that an additional 170 poll workers are in the training process. That will add to the 560 the commission is bringing back for the election.
"Hinds County has met (the) quota (of polling workers), and right now, we do not have a shortage of poll workers," she said. "We actually have excess."
Johnson said that voters who have moved or changed addresses should call the Hinds County Election Commission or the circuit clerk office at 601-968-6555 to make sure they are registered properly. Absentee voting starts on Sept. 21, and it ends on Oct. 31, she added.
Hinds County District 4 Supervisor Vern O. Gavin urged people to come out and exercise their right to vote.
"We cannot express enough the importance of getting out and voting," he said. "... Too many people have suffered and died (for the right) to vote. We need to take that into consideration."
"And please go to the polls: young, old, disabled or what have you," he added. "Please go to the polls and vote this coming election."
Emergency Authorization For Tank Road Repair
Hinds County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave emergency authorization for the repair of Tank Road in Terry. W & S Construction, LLC will handle the $103,799 project after approval by the county's attorney.
Email story tips to city/county reporter Kayode Crown at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @kayodecrown.