Video: Confusion At the Polls Cause One Starkville Resident’s Vote Not To Count

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STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)-One Starkville resident is speaking out after some confusion at the polls for the primary elections that caused her vote not to count.

Aisha Yeates exercises her rights as an American. The Starkville native and active duty Army Reservist wanted her voice heard in last week’s primary. But when she headed to the polls, there was some confusion. Ward 2 poll workers couldn’t find her address in the voter registry.

“They’re referred to the map they verified that my street should be in Ward 2, but my name was not listed on the poll book and my entire street was not listed. It was then suggested I complete an affidavit ballot which I did with the assistance of the poll worker,” says Aisha Yeates.

Yeates was notified Monday that her Affidavit ballot was rejected.

“They told me that because I did not have a new address nor did I have an old address to list in the blanks for that I listed my address in the current mailing address area and they said that was not legal and therefore rejected,” says Yeates.

Jim Mckell, the chairman of city elections in Starkville says during a primary election, it is up to the members on the democratic or republican election committee to accept or deny affidavit ballots.

“The candidates would be here when these are being considered and they can challenge this envelope and that for instances they didn’t give a driver’s license number or her last four digits of her social they can reject it for that reason or they can accept it without that. It’s the decision of the, in case of a primary, the democratic election committee,” says Jim Mckell.

Two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan later, Yeates feels this miscommunication violates everything she fought for overseas.

“To fight for the rights of everyone and then have my rights to vote be denied is very upsetting and very disappointing. So I really hope that maybe my voice will be heard and my vote will count,” says Yeates

Yeates will be allowed to vote in Tuesday’s runoff, and says she has full intentions of casting her ballot.

A similar story for the Ward Three spot. Jason Walker defeated John Gaskin in the primary by a very close margin, prompting Gaskin to call for a review.

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  • Bill Chapman

    We need to be sure poll workers know how to help citizens get the affidavit ballots filled out. It is not good enough just to have a procedure in place to make sure all eligible voters get to cast a ballot, but the poll workers need to know the rules so the ballots are not disqualified because of procedural errors. One article said some ballots were disqualified because the poll worker signed his or her initials, rather than writing a signature. These petty, procedural errors are completely avoidable, by good training for the poll workers. Simple human errors have disenfranchised at least seven Starkville voters. Starkville, we are better than that!