Electronic Poll Books

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 18, 2015

County board authorizes additional electronic poll books

By John Howell

Panola supervisors voted unanimously during Monday’s meeting in Batesville to purchase five additional electronic poll books and a new server for the Circuit Clerk’s office.

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Panola County Election Commission Chairperson Kaye Smythe made the request for the additional electronic polling books to use as precincts where greater numbers of voters are expected in the November 3 General Election.

The server will replace a server that has been in use at the circuit clerk’s office since 2004 or 2005, Circuit Clerk Melissa Meek-Phelps said.

Split vote

The only split vote during Monday’s meeting came on a request to have a road name changed.

Gwendolyn Joiner of Memphis spoke for several descendants of the late Frank Josh Morris asked that Seven Road’s name be changed to Morris Road or some variation that memorializes the name of their ancestor who first settled in the area west of the present levee of the Tallahatchie River. Drainage improvements in the early 20th Century reduced flooding and made the area more suitable for farms and homes.

Seven Road connects Macedonia and Curtis-Locke Station Roads, running east and west for about three miles.

“To do what you are requesting would probably cost $25,000,” a county official said, citing changes in the E-911 address system that direct emergency responders to physical addresses. Also cited was a necessity to change descriptions in mortgages and other legal documents that use Morris Road as part of a land description.

As a result, the county in 2004 adopted an ordinance prohibiting changes in road names, board attorney Bill McKenzie said.

“We’re eventually going to have to add new roads,” District Two Supervisor Vernice Avant said. “I think that when we do that we need to think of changes.” 

“If we let them do it …” District Three Supervisor John Thomas said, alluding to additional road name change requests that could follow.

After further discussion, supervisors voted 3 to 2 to keep in place the 2004 ordinance prohibiting road name changes. 

Possible solution

After the vote, Panola County Emergency Management Agency Director Daniel Cole spoke with family members, describing a custom sign that could be ordered and placed at the road’s beginning to memorialize the Morris family’s role in the community.

In other business during Monday’s meeting, supervisors also voted unanimously to accept a proposal by First Security Bank to provide hardware and software that will allow payment of taxes and licenses by credit or debit card. 

State law does not permit county government to absorb the convenience fee for using the card, McKenzie said. “It’s added to your bill; it’s just what the Audit Department requires.”

Supervisors also voted unanimously to approve Sheriff Dennis Darby’s recommendation that Mark Allen be hired as a part-time deputy to replace Britton Crawford who has resigned. Crawford worked as a court room bailiff.

The sheriff also agreed to have county trusties repair a wall damaged at Pope Town Hall during its recent uses as a county voting precinct.