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Absentee ballots are late in 1 Mississippi county after a candidate is replaced because of illness

2023-09-27
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JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- Voters in one Mississippi county are waiting extra days for access to absentee ballots because a candidate dropped out of a race last week and his party named someone to take his place. A longtime Jones County Justice Court judge, David Lyons, had a stroke earlier this year and submitted a letter Thursday to withdraw from the Nov. 7 general election, Circuit Clerk Concetta Brooks said. Brooks, who is in charge of preparing Jones County ballots, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she drove Lyons' letter to Jackson as soon as she received it last week. She said a Republican committee has named a substitute candidate, Travis Haynes. The only other candidate in the District 3 Jones County Justice Court race is a Democrat, Marian Allen. Brooks said her office received several complaints from Allen's supporters about absentee ballots not being available Monday and Tuesday. "Nobody's been disenfranchised," Brooks said. Brooks said she was expecting to receive an updated Jones County ballot database back from the Mississippi Secretary of State's office as soon as Wednesday. She said she will order absentee ballots to be printed as soon as she receives that information, and those ballots should be available quickly. Mississippi law says that after a primary and before a general election, a party nominee may drop out of a race for a "legitimate nonpolitical reason," such as health problems. Last month, Shuwaski Young cited concerns about his own health as he dropped out as the Democratic nominee for secretary of state. State election commissioners allowed the Democratic Party to name a new nominee, Ty Pinkins. Allen said Saturday in a video on Facebook that she had been calling on Lyons to drop out because of his frail health. She said she had "uprooted him off the ballot." Mississippi voters this year are electing a governor and other statewide and regional officials, state legislators and county officials. An election-year calendar published by the Secretary of State says absentee ballots were supposed to be available in circuit clerks' offices by this past Saturday, Sept. 23, and that circuit clerks were supposed to start mailing absentee ballots that day to military and overseas voters. Mississippi allows people to request absentee ballots by mail or go to circuit clerks' offices to vote absentee starting weeks in advance if they know they are going to be out of town on election day. People who have a temporary or permanent physical disability or are 65 and older may vote absentee, even if they will be in town the day of the election.

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