Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mississippi Sec. of State. 'doesn't even certify results' of elections, just takes numbers each political party gives them-NY Times

""We don't even certify the results," said Pam Weaver, communications director for the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office."

6/10/14, "Alabama and Mississippi Voted Last Week. No Official Results Yet." NY Times, Derek Willis, The Upshot

"A week after primary elections in eight states, two of them — Alabama and Mississippi — have not posted any results on an official state government website. The two stand alone among states that held primaries on June 3 in not publishing any results in a central location....

In Alabama and Mississippi, where the Republican Senate primary sent the incumbent, Thad Cochran, to a runoff election against Chris McDaniel, the process is different. Political parties, not the states, run the primaries, so county-level officials send the results first to the state parties to be approved.

"We don't even certify the results," said Pam Weaver, communications director for the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office. “But as soon as the parties send the results to us, we post them.” A similar process is in place in Alabama. Under state law, the parties have until June 13 to send the results to state officials.

On primary election night, and in the week since, journalists and others seeking election results in those states have needed to navigate a variety of county-level websites and sources....Mississippi does not have election-night reporting of results, even for the general election in November (organizations such as The Associated Press, which provide live results, collect them at the county level)....

The pattern will repeat itself for Mississippi’s Senate runoff election on June 24. As in the primary, the results will be released by the Republican Party."

NY Times commenter: 
"Erin A. Tampa Bay area, Florida 6 days ago
I cannot fathom why their elections are handled by the state's political parties and not by the usual local or statewide election mechanisms. Doesn't this run the risk of causing deep suspicion about the integrity of the results? Or at least cynicism? I'm not saying that the party handling it automatically means it's a corrupt system - it just seems as though that opens the process up to more skepticism, not to mention the inefficiencies that seem likelier to arise. What is the purpose of continuing with this system when virtually everywhere else does not, and has managed to release info on their election results much faster?"...


A Mississippi Democrat blog on June 9 notes no one really knows the final results of the June 3 election or that a runoff was even necessary. About Miss. Sec. of State Delbert Hosemann: "This is a wee bit troubling as Hosemann publicly endorsed Cochran after flirting with the idea of running himself."

6/9/14, "Election Integrity? Why Won't Delbert's Office Publish Primary Results?" cottonmouthblog.blogspot.com

"But the issue here is that we are six days removed from an election and Hosemann's office has absolutely dropped the ball in reporting its data. Not only does this cause trouble for nerds like myself interested in checking out precincts in depth, it means that nobody really knows how close the election was, including the media.

In fact, without official announcement or certification from Delbert Hosemann's office, how do we even know that a runoff was necessary?

This is a wee bit troubling as Hosemann publicly endorsed Cochran after flirting with the idea of running himself.

Why are we waiting? I've done enough data parsing to know that the Secretary's office doesn't even digitize the returns. They merely scan them and publish.

Something's got to give. You know, for integrity's sake."


6/16/14, "Hinds GOP chair paid by Cochran PAC," Jackson Clarion-Ledger

"A consulting firm owned by Hinds County GOP Chairman Pete Perry, who helps oversee primary elections, has been paid $60,000 by a super PAC that supports incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran....

Pete Perry
Perry said his firm, Paradigm Government Relations, is doing get-out-the-vote work for the super PAC. He wouldn't specify what that work is "because I don't want the McDaniel campaign to know what we're doing."

Perry and state GOP Chairman Joe Nosef said there is no prohibition against individuals in the party working for campaigns, but party groups, such as county chapters, are not supposed to endorse or help a specific candidate in a primary.

"We don't have anything as far as rules or regulations that restricts an individual's rights to do anything," Nosef said. "I was not aware (of Perry's firm working for the PAC) until you just told me. I don't know anything about that situation. Everybody's deciding for themselves what they want to do in this election. I've decided to remain neutral. A lot of people haven't."...

Image: Pete Perry, by Ryan Moore, Hattiesburg American via Clarion-Ledger

Haley Barbour associate and lobbyist Pete Perry cited in above 2014 article is experienced in Mississippi ballot counting per 2007 reports:

9/5/2007, "'Dems' vs. Dems," Jackson Free Press, Adam Lynch

"Cuevas, a Democrat, hired Perrychairman of the Hinds County Republican Party—to investigate irregularities at the polls. Perry said he turned up potential problems.
"There were several instances reported of people voting where their vote didn't register as they'd cast them. ... There were also several precincts where the machines showed they were voting beginning Monday night rather than Tuesday morning. This could have easily affected at least 36 votes," Perry said."...


8/19/2007, "GOP Hinds Honcho on Coast Examining Democratic Ballots?" Jackson Free Press, Donna Ladd

"We just got a tip that Hinds County Republican Chairman Pete Perry is in Hancock County conducting the ballot box examination for Scottie Cuevas in the Democratic Senate race down there, which insurance-company critic David Baria won by just over 30 votes. And I just clicked over to the Cottonmouth Blog and see that we must have gotten the same tip. Per Cottonmouth:

Look who's surfaced in Hancock County -- Pete Perry the Hinds County Republican Chair who had to defend his complete failure as an elections official in the August 7 primary on every news outlet in Central Mississippi. What's he doing in Hancock? He is examining the ballot boxes in the DEMOCRATIC primary where David Baria beat Scottie Cuevas by about 30 votes.

That's right -- the father of Haley Barbour's [policy director] Jim Perry is down on the Coast representing a Democratic candidate!

Cottonmouth stole my punchline—that is, doesn't Pete Perry have more important, Republican things to do back here in Hinds County figuring out why in hell his people couldn't get their ballots out to Republicans hankering to vote on primary day!?!"


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