Mississippi’s governor, Haley Barbour, and its secretary of state have come up with a particularly cynical dirty trick for the November election. Let’s call it: “Where’s the Senate race?”
Defying state law, they have decided to hide a hard-fought race for the United States Senate at the bottom of the ballot, where they clearly are hoping some voters will overlook it. Their proposed design is not only illegal. It shows a deep contempt for Mississippi’s voters.
Hard fought race? How about one of the nastiest mud-slinging fests Mississippi voters have seen in a long time? At this point, I wouldn't want to vote for either of them.
Attorney General Mike Moore has stated that the law is clear that ballots must list those running for national office at the top of ballots. Secretary of State Hosemann doesn't believe it applies to special elections. Governor Barbour agrees with Hoseman.
Hinds County Circuit Judge Tomie Green ruled a sample ballot Hosemann sent to election commissioners this week is illegal because it puts the race between Democrat Ronnie Musgrove and Roger Wicker, a Republican, near the bottom.
But Green wrote that the law speaks "loudly about the special election placement on the ballot ... (it) explicitly states that candidates for the U.S. Senate shall come first on the ballot, along with others who are seeking National Office."
Hood advised election commissioners Thursday that state law requires races for federal offices to be placed near the top of the ballot. He said the law changed in 2000 to require that statewide offices appear at the top of the ballot, just under the race for president, and didn't make an exception for special elections.
A decision on the ballot is to made by the Mississippi Supreme Court, It does appear the good ol' boy system is at play here. It begs the question why would Hoseman want to place the Senate race between Wicker and Musgrove at the bottom. Hoseman, just put the Wicker and Musgrove race at the top where it belongs.
Governor Barbour supports Hoseman's decision. This taints the wonderful work he did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
I urge my fellow Mississippians to contact Governor Barbour and Secretary of State Hosemann and let them know voters do not appreciate this game of pin the tail on the ballot.
Barbour can reached at 1-877-405-0733 or 601-359-3150.
Hosemann can be reached at numerous numbers at this link.
Hopefully, the Mississippi Supreme Court will make a decision based on the law and not political cronyism.