How long have you served as Secretary of State?
This is my third term as Secretary of State, and I was first elected to serve in 2007. It has been the professional privilege of my lifetime.
What are your primary roles?
The Secretary of State’s Office has vast responsibilities from managing our State lands, including 16th Section and Tidelands property, to overseeing elections and securities laws, to informing the public about regulatory structure and charities operating in Mississippi. From year to year, we will be assigned other ad hoc projects, such as managing the first phase of the 2020 U.S. Census or increasing autism awareness and insurance coverage for children in the State.
What factors affect voter turnout?
Voter turnout can be impacted by a variety of factors including candidates on the ballot, the issues and sometimes the weather. Right now, it looks like we may have some rain on Election Day, but nothing which should keep voters from their polling places.
We want everyone to know we, in connection with our hard-working local election officials, are doing everything possible to make sure things go as smoothly as possible for every voter on November 6. We are also reminding voters we have more than 3,200 men and women in the Mississippi National Guard fighting overseas in the Middle East right now for their right to vote. This makes voting not only a right, but an obligation. At the end of the day, the only way your vote will not count is if you do not cast it.
How is this year’s turnout expected to compare to that of previous years?
Turnout in the Primary Election was abysmal at 13.4 percent statewide, but we are hopeful for a better turnout on November 6. Right now, our absentee count is more than double those requested in 2014, and absentees are usually a good indication of turnout on Election Day.
What is your fastest 5K time? (Our editor is a runner and she requested this question.)
Not as fast as I used to be. Suffice it to say, I do not break 20 minutes anymore.