There’s confusion among some Mississippi Democratic voters, including in DeSoto County, who have received letters informing them that they are not registered to vote in the upcoming Nov. 5 general election.
In many cases, the recipients are actually registered and active participants in the election process. The source of the campaign apparently used a bad mailing list, but the result has made some voters unsure about their status for the general election.
The letters have come from the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) as part of its Voter Registration Project and are penned by the association’s Executive Director Sean Rankin.
“You’re receiving this letter because our records show that you are not registered to vote at this address,” Rankin writes.
In most cases, the letters were delivered before the Oct. 7 registration deadline, however some were delivered after that date. Several Democratic voters, especially African-American voters who were targeted by the campaign, were left wondering if they actually were active on the voter rolls, according to Kelly Jacobs of the DeSoto-Marshall Federation of Democratic Women, who alerted the DeSoto Times-Tribune to the issue.
Jacobs forwarded the email she sent to County Circuit Clerk Dale Kelly Thompson and in it Jacobs said she had confirmed with the chairman of the state Democratic Party that the letters were being sent to Democratic voters across the state.
Speculation is that the mailing list that generated the letters from the DAGA came from a mail merge that went wrong, where the group had a list of “super voters,” voters who have participated in each election, and a list of inactive or seldom voted voters.
The letters were to go to the inactive voters but the group did the mail merge to the wrong list of voters.
Thompson said most people who have called her office in response to the DAGA letter are actually registered to vote.
“I don’t know where they (DAGA) are getting that information from, but it has nothing to do with our office, and we’ve gotten several calls,” Thompson said. “They (voters) should call our office, we will verify that they’re registered and we’ll send them a new card if they need it.”
Thompson added voters can also go to the official county government website, www.desotocountyms.gov, under the Elections tab, where there is a link for Voter Registration Inquiry that will confirm their active voter status.
Thompson said while it is too late to register for the Nov. 5 general election, absentee ballots for those voters who will not be voting on Election Day are still being accepted by her office. Thompson’s office in the County Courthouse in Hernando will be open on Saturday morning, Oct. 26, and again on Saturday morning, Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, which is the deadline for absentee ballots.
Thompson said as of Friday morning, Oct. 25, only 335 absentee ballots had been received.
Bob Bakken is Managing Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune.