NORTH MISSISSIPPI (WCBI)- As the general election draws closer, people will come in droves to their circuit clerk’s office. Or, they will be mailing in their absentee ballots in time for November 6.
“This is a presidential election. During the presidential election there’s a lot of interest in the elections so therefore a lot more people are wanting to vote absentee this time,” says Monroe County Circuit Clerk Judy Butler.
Butler tells WCBI that although voting absentee is a time constraint, it is very valuable among voters.
“It’s a service that we offer as far as election laws. Voters are entitled to vote absentee, if they qualify. We try the very best we can to treat them in a very respectful way and take care of their needs as quickly as we can.
Most of those who depend on absentee voting are the elderly or the handicapped. Those, like Lowndes County Supervisor LeRoy Brooks’s mother.
“My mother is 81 years old. She requested an absentee ballot and is blind in one eye. So I go out and assist her. I make sure the ballot is voted properly, get it mailed back in,” says Brooks.
Despite popular belief, Supervisor Brooks says voter fraud among absentee ballots is typically low.
“In the presidential election, it probably won’t be a problem. It’s when you have local elections. People sometimes, they can’t read or understand the ballots so you’re at the whims of the ‘vote getter’ and 99% of all of them are people of great integrity,” says Brooks.
Many people rely on a “vote getter” to get their ballots to the polls.
“You have people (vote getters) that actually go out and know the people and say to them ‘call in, request an absentee ballot and when the ballot comes out, call me back and I’ll assist you.’ And so what you’ll see sometimes is you’ll see one person assisting a number of people with their ballots because over the years, people have gotten acclimated to this one person and that’s who they’re gonna call.”
The state has taken steps in recent years to crack down on “vote getters.”
In Mississippi, the deadline to vote for absentee in person is next saturday. Circuit clerk offices are open this saturday and next saturday for people’s convenience.