Junkin: Electors should vote’the will of the people’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2000

On Dec. 18, Natchez resident Johnny Junkin will join a select group of seven people in making history for the State of Mississippi. As the Republican elector for Mississippi’s 4th congressional district, Junkin will cast his vote for Gov. George W. Bush.

Mississippi law does not require electors to vote the way of the state’s popular vote, but &uot;I think anybody would be hard pressed not to vote the will of the people in this case,&uot; Junkin said.

But Junkin said that has not stopped people from asking him.

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Over the past few weeks, Junkin said he has gotten calls from numerous members of the news media, including CBS Evening News, the London Times and the Wall Street Journal, asking him if he would change his vote.

Junkin said he has told everyone he has no intention of doing so.

&uot;I think you’re obligated. The concept is you’re voting for the person the people elected,&uot; Junkin said.

&uot;And personally, I’m philosophically comfortable with George Bush and certainly as opposed to Al Gore.&uot;

And Junkin said he knows it would have be something major to get him to change his mind.

&uot;It would have to be enough for me to leave the country because I’d never be able to stay around (here) if I did,&uot; he joked.

The Mississippi Republican Party picked its seven electors during its state convention in Jackson, Junkin said.

The party selected one elector for each of the state’s congressional district and two to represent the state at large.

The electors will sign certificates stating their votes, which will then be sent to the U.S. House of Representatives for certification, Junkin said.

The process is taking on a whole new meaning in light of the disputed election results in Florida.

When reflecting on those events, Junkin said he thinks it is time for the controversy to end.

Gore should concede &uot;today, this hour, this minute,&uot; Junkin said. &uot;I just don’t think its good for the country.&uot;

In retrospect, Junkin said he thinks Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Mike Parker should have done the same during last year’s close race with Gov. Ronnie Musgrove. Junkin said he had mixed feelings about it at the time.

By letting the gubernatorial election go before the state Legislature, the expected outcome did not change even though that act did make state lawmakers voice their true opinions instead of straddling the fence, Junkin said.

When talking about the presidential race, Junkin said he did not think election problems in Florida are any different than problems that have been &uot;out there in any other election,&uot; Junkin said.

Trying to decide voter intent after the fact by scrutinizing the ballots &uot;is not democratic,&uot; Junkin said.

Now that Florida has certified its election results, Junkin said he considers Bush the president-elect.

Junkin served in the state Legislature for eight years as a Democrat before switching to the Republican Party because it better shared his political philosophy.

He is the vice chairman of the Adams County Republican Party and a member of the Mississippi Republican Party’s executive committee.