Absentee voting underway for runoff as election commission qualifying deadline nears

By CLAY MCFERRIN,

Absentee voting is underway in a Republican primary runoff election for U.S. representative in the 2nd Congressional District.

Republican candidates Thomas L. Carey and Brian Flowers are scheduled to battle in a June 23 showdown for the party nomination to see who will advance to face longtime incumbent Democrat Bennie G. Thompson in November.

The runoff was originally set for March 31, but outbreak of the COVID-19 virus led to Gov. Tate Reeves rescheduling the election.

Only those who cast a ballot in the Republican primary or did not vote at all on March 10 are eligible to vote in next month’s runoff, Neal said. Mississippi law does not permit crossover voting, so anyone who voted in the Democratic Party primary cannot vote in the Republican Party runoff.

Tallahatchie County Circuit Clerk Daphane Neal on Tuesday said that anyone over the age of 65 or disabled can call her office at 647-8758 and request that an absentee ballot be mailed to them.

For in-person absentee voting that takes place at her Charleston office, Neal said that due to present county restrictions related to COVID-19, only one person at a time will be allowed into the Tallahatchie County Courthouse to cast a ballot.

In fact, the one person per office rule is being enforced for all offices in the county government building.

Neal stressed that all in-person absentee voters “must wear a mask” in the courthouse.

IN OTHER ELECTION news, although the qualifying period opened in January and the qualifying deadline is little more than a week away, not until last Thursday had anyone filed as a candidate for a seat on the Tallahatchie County Election Commission.

Incumbent Charles Huddleston, 67, of 246 Huddleston St., Tutwiler, filed his qualifying statement of intent and petition forms on May 14. Huddleston is seeking re-election to the District 5 seat on the commission.

Election commission positions will appear on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

The deadline to sign up is 5 p.m. on Monday, June 1.

Neal said other prospective candidates for the commission have picked up paperwork to qualify.

Candidates must fill out the statement of intent and gather a petition signed by at least 50 registered voters of the district, submitting those documents to the chancery clerk’s office. Properly formatted petition forms are available.

Kelly W. Standard, 58, of Enid, who served as District 1 election commissioner for 20 years, announced in early April that he would not be seeking re-election this year.

The current four-year term for the county’s five election commissioners expires at the end of 2020.