Election Commissioners prepare for special election

Staff Writer

The Mississippi House of Representatives has an empty seat vacated by long time Representative Gary Chism, in House District 37. Parts of Clay County are in that district and there will be a special election to fill the seat, Sept. 22.
The Clay County Election Commission is working to have everything ready for the special election.
"Right now there are three candidates who have qualified to run for the seat on the legislature," Linda Ivy, Election Commissioner for District 1, said. "We have a lot to do to prepare for the special election."

All of the commissioners are in agreement that those wishing to cast a ballot in the special election, wear a facial covering. It will be a good trial run before the election Nov. 3. Due to COVID-19 there will be extra precautions to keep voters and those working the polls from being exposed to the virus.
"It will be different from any other election," Ivy said. "We want everyone to wear a mask, and we will be sanitizing the machines and the cards after every vote is cast. Poll workers will be behind plexiglass or will have a plastic face shield. If anyone requires them, we will supply gloves."

Tommy Bryan, Election Commissioner, District 2, said they will be encouraging social distancing and everyone will be at least six feet apart.
"This election is only for those residents of District 37, if you have had Gary Chism on your ballot previously, you can vote in this election," Bryan said. "If you are unsure of whether or not he was your state representative, or if you are in District 37, call us and ask."
Only 8 of the 14 precincts will be open for voting in the special election.

"In one of the districts there are only 22 people who live there who will be eligible to vote in this election. It has to do with how the lines are drawn," Bryan said. "Now this has nothing to do with the Nov. 3 election. All the precincts will be open for that election."

There will be curbside voting available for the elderly and disabled, but absentee voting is encouraged for those who do not want to vote in person.
"The main thing is for everyone who is eligible to vote, to have the opportunity," Ivy said. "We always encourage everyone to participate in the election process. If you don't have a drivers license, you can get a state issued ID at the Circuit Clerk's office, but you must have a photo ID."

Bryan said if people do not want to touch the voting screen, a stylus or a Q-Tip will work.
"We aren't expecting a large turn out for the special election," Bryan said. "But we want to have the voting precincts sanitized. We will probably have about half of the number of poll workers"

Mae Brewer, Election Commissioner District 5, said they would need more poll workers. The ones who normally work the polls are predominately retirees. They are the ones who prefer not to venture out with the virus still making the rounds.
"We will provide you with training if you have not worked the polls in the past year," Brewer said. "And you cannot be related to any of the election commissioners. We will make sure you are informed and trained."
Election Commissioners can be contacted at 495-2053 or 494-3384.