Secretary of State Hosemann is “giddy” about electionBy PAT BROWN,
W e had the opportunity on Monday afternoon to visit a bit with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.
Our visit was set up by Leah Smith, assistant Secretary of State for Communications. Let’s start out by saying we think Hosemann sets the standard for what and how a public official should be. Number one in our book is he is quite accessible and always has been. We have known him since our early days when he was seeking office in Congress.
For example, if there are issues of importance about elections, either he or a staff member will make great haste in researching questions and returning calls.
He has made himself available to speak with groups like the Magee Lions Club, the Magee Chamber of Commerce with our public schools as well as an advisor to our local school board through 16th section issues.
Our primary topic of discussion was around the election last week. For lack of a better term he was absolutely “giddy” about the successful election process.
The biggest issue he was pleased with was the amount of voters who turned out for the election. He said that 1.8 million voted in the run-off election. This represented 1,717 precincts with over 5,000 voting machines. The 1.8 million represents 48 percent of the registered voters in the state with 51 percent voting in the general election. This far exceeds local non-election year results. He said he felt these numbers will continue to improve as voter rolls are updated. There were substantial increases in voter registration four years ago 31 thousand compared to just over 10,000.
So what accounted for the large voter turn-out? Hosemann believes there were several issues that account for the increase. First of all he cited the candidates and issues. He said voters felt strongly about who they were and what the platforms are meaning a lot about liberal or conservative agendas.
Hosemann said he implemented “Promote the Vote” in 300 schools across the state with school age children. He said his goal was to get children to go home and engage their parents around the dinner table as to whom they support and why.
Another program, was the Honor Wall where you vote in honor of a veteran. This program was a success with Governor Bryant even honoring a veteran with his vote. He was responsible for a program that encourage 3,200 Mississippi National Guardsman who are stationed in Kuwait and surrounding areas to vote.
Another issue we discussed with him is that of cyber security in reference to the elections process. He said at a minimum he spends an hour a day making sure our records maintain their integrity. He said it is not a vote for vote issue that is the goal but more about getting information about voters is what these hacking events are about. The vote issue would not change an election but the data on voters is very real and that is the reason they want information.
Another issue is the hackers hope to block communications during the election process and there were two instances of that during this election.
Hosemann is the real thing and has done a lot for our state in many other areas also. We expect to hear more from him in the future!