Countians already voting
by Chance Wright
Oct 10, 2012 | 1142 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
With the Nov. 6 general elections quickly approaching and absentee voting underway since Sept. 26, Bolivar County Circuit Clerk Marilyn Kelly said that her office has seen early voting interest peaking this year.

"We have been working diligently to prepare our staff to be ready for the election season," said Kelly. "Absentee ballots are so scrutinized now that we have been training so that our employees are ready, willing and able to help any who may need help with voting by absentee ballot."

Kelly said that because of the high level of scrutiny given to absentee ballots, she would encourage any everyone who is able to visit the polls in November to cast their votes there.

"We want voters to look at absentee ballots as a last resort," she said. "Everything has to be perfect for these ballots to be counted and in the past, I have seen so many absentee ballots thrown out for one reason or another. It is because of this that I encourage anyone who is able to go vote at the polls to do so."

While many counties in the Delta and around the state were late in receiving their absentee ballots from the Secretary of States Office, Kelly said that Bolivar County has been fortunate to not have any delays and that the absentee voting has been going smoothly up to this point.

"There is such a short window of time between candidates qualifying on the state level and the beginning of the absentee ballot voting window," said Kelly. "For this reason, many counties were right on the brink of the 45-day window in receiving their ballots, which in turn causes delays in circuit clerk's offices."

By law absentee ballots are supposed to start 45 days before election day. In places like Hinds County, for example, absentee ballots were not available until last week.

"We were fortunate not to have many of the issues that several counties have faced with ballots," she continued. "And, for the first time, we have been receiving online absentee ballots from U.S. citizens and military personnel overseas."

According to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, all citizens outside the United States who want to vote by absentee ballot in the 2012 primary and general elections must complete a new Federal Post Card Application every year if they wish to vote from abroad.

"States are now required to send out ballots 45 days before an election. No matter what state you vote in, you can now ask your local election officials to provide your blank ballots to you electronically, by email, internet download, or fax, depending on your state," Hosemann said in a recent release from his office.

Kelly said that as of this morning eight or nine overseas votes have already come in.

All absentee ballots sent in by mail must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.

The deadline to vote by absentee ballot in person at the Circuit Clerk's Office is noon Nov. 3.

Kelly said the county has its voting machines ready to go and she is looking forward to a good turnout at the polls in November.