When you receive your ballot as you arrive at the polls for the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, there will certainly be names you quickly recognize for each race that is listed there.
But there are some names you may not know of. For instance, on the presidential ballot, along with the easily recognizable names of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, voters will see the names of Don Blankenship (American Constitution Party), Brian Carroll (American Solidarity), Phil Collins (Independent), Howie Hawkins (Green Party), Jo Jorgenson (Libertarian), Brock Pierce (Independent), and Kanye West (Independent), all running for president.
For all candidates, voters will see both presidential and vice-presidential candidates listed but they will also see the words “Presidential Electors for.” That is an indication that not only is a voter showing support for a specific candidate, but more importantly, he or she is voting for an elector who will vote for that candidate in the Electoral College, the real decider of who the next President and Vice President will be.
The state of Mississippi has six electoral votes in the college, equaling the number of members of Congress, Senators and Representatives, representing the Magnolia State. The winner of the popular vote on Nov. 3 will win all six Electoral College votes when they meet after the election.
It is a winner-take-all ballot for electoral voters in each state and the District of Columbia with two exceptions. Nebraska and Maine dole out their votes based on the percentage of popular votes for each candidate. The person elected president will have won 270 electoral votes.
Several races will be contested on Election Day beyond the one for presidency that DeSoto County voters will find on their ballots.
Statewide, incumbent Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Republican, is being challenged by Democrat Mike Espy and Libertarian Jimmy Edwards.
The race for the U.S. Congress in the First Congressional District is between incumbent Republican Rep. Trent Kelly and Democrat Antonia Eliason.
There is a non-partisan race on the ballot for the Mississippi state Supreme Court District 3, Position 3 seat on the high court. Incumbent Justice Josiah Coleman is challenged by Third Chancery District Senior Chancellor Percy Lynchard Jr.
There are contested races for spots on the DeSoto County Election Commission. In District One, Laura Edler faces JB Payne. Barry Chatham is challenged by Zelda Hill in District Two. The District Three vote for Election Commissioner has Cara Seay Combes running without opposition and Sissie Ferguson is unopposed in District Four. In District Five, the candidates are Tina Hill and David Ross.
District Five is also where the only race for DeSoto County School Board is being contested, with three candidates on the ballot. Incumbent Sarah Doss-Thomas faces Charles Barton and Dr. Larry Sylvester for the seat.
Robert Sayle Jr. is the lone candidate on the ballot for Yazoo MS Delta Levee District board member.
DeSoto County voters also have three ballot measures to consider.
Voters must show their preference between Initiative 65 or the Alternative 65A concerning the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes, supporting either one or the other, or against both of them. Then, they will vote on what of the two initiatives they support, if the first question of whether it is allowed at all passes.
The second ballot measure is on the ballot to clarify the election of the governor. If passed, the elected governor will have won a majority of the ballots cast. If no candidate gets a majority, then a runoff election is held, similar to what is done for other elected offices in the state.
In the past, a “sort of electoral college” method was used. Each state House District is assigned an electoral vote and a candidate wins election by winning a majority of state House Districts. The state Constitution provides that if a candidate doesn’t win the popular and electoral votes, the decision on the next governor goes to the House of Representatives, an action used only one time, when Ronnie Musgrove was elected governor in 1999. Musgrove won a plurality but not a majority and the state House elected Musgrove as governor.
The third initiative will determine if the flag design earlier approved by a state commission becomes the official flag of the state of Mississippi. The commission came up with the “In God We Trust” design following a legislative vote that removed the flag containing the Confederate battle emblem as representing Mississippi.
If the design is not approved, the commission will have to reconvene and come together on another design. There currently is no official flag that represents the state.
Polls are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on Election Day. Voters may go to the official DeSoto County website as registered voters, search a name, and see a sample ballot.
DeSoto County News will have coverage on results for the county with Bob Bakken reporting, as he has the past several years. A separate page story will be found on this website with results updated as the evening progresses. Check this website and our social media channels for the most complete coverage in DeSoto County.