DeSoto County Circuit Clerk Dale K. Thompson has released information that addresses absentee voting in the Nov. 3 general election.
Eligible voters may cast an absentee ballot between Sept. 21 through Oct. 31.
Thompson points out that Mississippi does not have early voting. Voters may cast an absentee ballot ahead of Election Day, however there are specific reasons that must be given to vote absentee.
“Some registered voters are eligible to vote by an absentee ballot because of age, health, work demands, temporary relocation for educational purposes, or their affiliation with the U.S. Armed Forces,” Thompson said. “Please check with your Circuit Clerk to determine if you are entitled to vote by an absentee ballot and to learn the guidelines for doing so.”
While the fear of contracting COVID-19 cannot be used as a reason to request an absentee ballot, any voter in a COVID-19 quarantine or who is caring for a coronavirus dependent in a quarantine may vote absentee.
Once you vote absentee, you can’t go to the polls on Election Day to change or add to that ballot. An absentee ballot is final, Thompson said.
Absentee voting is done Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the DeSoto County Courthouse in Hernando, 2535 U.S. Highway 51. In addition to regular office hours, Thompson’s office will be open on Saturday, Oct. 24, from 8 a.m.-12 noon, and again on Saturday, Oct. 31, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is the deadline.
People entering the courthouse are reminded that masks are required to enter county buildings. There will be a temperature check and screening on entry to the courthouse.
Other things to remember about absentee voting are that if you get a ballot by mail, it has to be returned by mail. It cannot be brought back to the Circuit Clerk’s office. Mailed absentee ballots must be in Thompson’s office by 5 p.m. on Election Day and mailed in ballots must have a postmark of Nov. 3 or sooner.
Thompson urges those who want to vote absentee should do so as soon as possible to avoid long lines in the office.
Questions about absentee ballots should be directed by phone to Thompson’s office at 662-469-8350 or 662-469-8375.
REGISTRATION DEADLINES: Monday, Oct. 5 is the deadline to register for the Nov. 3 election and Circuit Clerk’s office will be open on Saturday, Oct. 3 from 8 a.m.-12 noon to accommodate last-minute registrations.
POLL WORKERS: Residents who want to be poll workers on Election Day need to contact the DeSoto County Election Commission, not the Circuit Clerk’s office.
In addition, the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office has set up a poll worker portal on its official website. Interested people should fill out the online form and the Secretary of State’s office will forward the information to the county Election Commission, which will contact the applicant if services are needed.
The Secretary of State’s website also has links available to allow for voter registration or to determine if you are registered to vote in November.