It is rare when a race for lower state offices has such a great contrast. Usually, it is Tweedledee versus Tweedledum. But that is not the case for the Secretary of State's race. While I have been a very strong supporter of Secretary of State Eric Clark, perhaps one of the most honorable and decent men ever in Mississippi politics, he is not running for re-election. So the choice is between Republican Delbert Hosemann or Democrat Robert Smith.
I'm voting for Delbert Hosemann. I know him and I can tell you he is a fine person and is well-qualified for the post. He's been active in local affairs and has been active in a lot of charitable organizations. I have listened to him on talk radio (WJNT 1180 rocks!) and he is very well-informed on election matters.
The main issue this race has is a very sharp contrast on the matter of voter ID. Hosemann is for voter ID; Smith is against it. This may shock Smith, but there is voter fraud in this state. Has he ever heard of Noxubee's Democratic primary races? In Smith's home county of Rankin, there were MORE votes for the liquor referendum in 1980 than there was in the Presidential race. There was a lot of talk of voter fraud, but nothing was ever done.
In the Laurel Leader Call of October 7, 2007, Smith said voter ID would stop people from voting. He said he was most concerned about elderly people voting in 2008 due to possible re-registration due to party affiliation. In the Hattiesburg American of September 19, 2007, Smith also stated many older black Mississippians say providing voter identification is a reminder of the Civil Rights Era when the state used poll taxes to keep blacks from voting.
Delbert Hosemann has responded that he has encountered very little opposition to voter ID. In the Biloxi Sun Herald he has stated he would make certain nobody would be left out from voting. He said 97% of the people in the state have a driver's license. As for the other three percent, he would find some other form of identification for them. In the Laurel Leader Call of September 29, 2007, Hosemann said he would lead the fight to pass a state constitutional amendment voter ID program, which would ensure only citizens would vote.
Smith has also come up with a plan to bring all the circuit clerks and county election commissioners together and come up with a better plans and various plans to conduct elections. Newsflash Smith: HAVA (Help America Vote Act) throws cold water on such plans to conduct different modes of voting in various counties. You can't use lever machines and punch card machines. 492 people CANNOT be in charge of elections (82 circuit clerks and 410 election commissioners). You can't have different counties have different voting systems and performance levels. There is only one boss: The Secretary of State. If different counties have different voting systems, the Secretary of State can be hauled into Federal court for violating the equal protection clause. Has Smith even READ HAVA? When the county clerk messes up (and that has been known to happen), the citizens will be calling the Secretary of State's office--not the circuit clerk.
(I'm a municipal election commissioner and I can tell you that office has radically changed since HAVA took effect. Other than conducting elections (not primaries--only general elections), the municipal election commissioners don't do a thing. Before HAVA, we used to meet at least three times a year to clean up the voter rolls. Under HAVA, we can no longer do that.)
Smith has no plans for bringing Mississippi up to code with the Americans with Disabilities Act. He has gone on record saying we should have BOTH electronic and paper ballots for the voter to choose between. Is this guy NUTS? As an election commissioner, that would be total chaos. It is a recipe for disaster and total confusion. Does Rob Smith know ANYTHING about how an election is run? Is he ignorant or just plain stupid?
Smith is also not a friendly person. I have had people tell me he is cold and caustic when they dealt with him when he was in the State Senate. I've talked to him in the past and found him to be a cold, aloof individual. What happens when he has to deal with angry voters if he puts some of his nutty ideas into effect (If the Feds don't stop him.)? Is he going to flip them off?
Hosemann is intelligent, friendly, well-informed, witty and a very hard worker. I know he will do an excellent job and continue the great work Secretary of State Eric Clark has done.
The choice is so easy even a caveman can do it: Please vote for Republican Delbert Hoseman for Secretary of State on November 6th.