Hosemann geared his message especially toward Mississippians who are thinking about sitting out the election.
“Around the state a lot of people we find don’t like either candidate and don’t plan to vote,” said Hosemann. “On November 8 our men and women will be in Afghanistan in a foxhole to protect our right to go get in a truck and spend ten minutes to go vote. We need to respect those men and women enough to get out and cast our votes.
“How would they feel if we said ‘I don’t care what you’re doing to protect our votes,’” he added.
Hosemann also addressed concerns — raised in the increasingly contentious presidential campaigns — about the election being rigged.
“Our election isn’t going to be rigged,” he said. “Mississippi’s election is going to be valid.”
He cited his office’s success implementing voter ID laws as a factor in keeping Mississippi’s elections fair and assured voters that the voting machines used in the state are not hooked up to the internet and beyond outside tampering.
“The Russians can’t hack them,” he said.
Another area of discussion was absentee ballots. Hosemann said his office plans to issue a report after the election that focuses on all the counties in the state where more than five percent of the total votes cast were absentee ballots.
Alcorn County has seen a high number of absentee ballots in the past. In the 2012 presidential election, 1,434 absentee ballots were cast out of a total of approximately 15,000 ballots — roughly 9.5 percent of the votes. Absentee ballots were down in 2015’s election for local and state offices, with around 7.5 percent of approximately 11,000 votes cast being absentee ballots.
“Most places around here have around five percent absentee ballots out of the actual votes,” said Hosemann. “When you get above 10 percent absentees there’s cause for concern.”
The secretary of state and his staff are making a wide loop through Northeast Mississippi, starting in Oxford on Wednesday and winding through New Albany and Ripley before Corinth, speaking to local circuit clerks, election commissioners and press about the importance of voting.
Responding to rumors that he was planning to seek another office in state government after his current term ends, Hosemann said that he “sees light at the end of the tunnel” in regard to his objectives as secretary of state and will most likely seek another position in state government.
“I could retire and play golf. That’s probably not going to happen. Or I could go back and practice business law again,” said Hosemann. “Most likely I’ll want to stay involved in the political process.”
He said it will be time to make that decision late in 2017, a year before the next election.