Ballot redo

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 21, 2011

Panola included in redo of ballots

By Rupert Howell

Panola County Circuit Clerk Joe Reid said Wednesday that Panola County is one of the county’s affected by the Secretary of State’s confirmation that many counties will have to reprint ballots or add “inserts” due to wording on state initiatives that excluded fiscal analysis of what the ballot initiatives would cost taxpayers if implemented.

Pamela Weaver, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, said the attorney general contacted their office Friday and said he believed the “fiscal analysis” — cost to taxpayers for each of the ballot initiatives — should be included on ballots, per the state Constitution according to the Biloxi Sun-Herald.

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Many counties, including Panola, have apparently already printed ballots, and absentee voting has been going on since Sept. 24.

Weaver told the Sun-Herald any absentee votes cast to date will still count. She said the Secretary of State’s Office will pay the counties’ extra printing expenses. She said she did not know how many counties would have to reprint, how much it would cost or whether some would simply add inserts. Inserts are being added on absentee ballots, she said.

Reid said that already-cast ballots would probably be transferred to new ballots by a Resolution Committee, a committee used during elections to determine if ballots are permissible or not.

Reid said that if ballots are to be reprinted, existing memory cards that are already programmed will have to be cleared and reprogrammed, voting machines re-tested with the new cards and sample ballots re-printed.

Reid, who is retiring after this current term, said, “We go through this all the time though. It’s a big screw up.”

He said the ballot is three times the normal size and will take six screens to include all offices and initiatives.

According to the Sun-Herald, “For voter ID, the fiscal analysis on the ballot will read: “Based on Fiscal Year 2010 information, the Department of Public Safety issued 107,094 photo IDs to U.S. citizens of voting age. The individuals were assessed $14 per ID to offset a portion of the $17.92 cost per ID. The cost is estimated to remain the same, but the assessment will no longer be allowable under the provision of Initiative 27 (voter ID). Therefore, the Department of Public Safety is estimated to see a loss of revenue of approximately $1,499,000.”