Mississippi: State Supreme Court to Rule on Ballot Design

Posted September 15, 2008 at 6:38pm

The final design of Mississippi’s general election ballot is in the hands of the state Supreme Court this week after Gov. Haley Barbour (R) and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) appealed a lower court decision that would have forced the state to redesign the ballot before November.

The circuit court judge ruled that the general election ballot, presented earlier last week by Hosemann and approved by Barbour, should be revised so that the special Senate election between appointed Sen. Roger Wicker (R) and former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) appears at the top of the ballot, along with all other races for federal office.

The original ballot had placed the special Senate race near the bottom of the ballot, below all local races. That ballot was immediately challenged by a Pike County election commissioner because she said it would cause confusion among voters and result in a significant undervote in the Wicker- Musgrove race.

Democrats have been particularly upset by the original ballot because they believe that a drop-off in votes would most likely affect Democratic-leaning voters, especially low-income and minority voters.

A decision by the state Supreme Court on the final ballot design could come as early as today after final response arguments were filed Monday.

Childers Extends Lead Over GOP Foe Davis

Rep. Travis Childers, who won a heated special election this spring to swing the conservative northern Mississippi 1st district into the Democratic column, is extending his lead on his Republican opponent, according to a new survey by the Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt Research.

Childers, who beat Southaven Mayor Greg Davis (R) by 8 points in his special election earlier this year, held a 12-point lead (51 percent to 39 percent) over the Republican in a head-to-head matchup according to the September 7-10 poll of 502 likely voters. When the ballot included the Independent and Green party candidates who have qualified for November’s election, Childers lead over Davis was 13 points (49 percent to 36 percent).

Childers also showed a 55 percent to 24 percent favorable/unfavorable rating. Davis had a 40 percent favorable/32 percent unfavorable rating according to the poll. The survey had a 4.4-point margin of error.