Emergency? You might not get to vote

Published 12:37 am Monday, August 6, 2007

NATCHEZ — If an emergency takes you out of town and you can’t get to the polls, you’re pretty much out of luck.

Since absentee voting ended Saturday, there’s not much recourse except to vote at the polls, Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner said.

“There’s no provision in the law for it,” Gardner said.

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What if your grandmother gets sick and has to go to the hospital?

“Your only choice would really be to put her in the car and bring her to the polls,” Gardner said.

Absentee ballots were due to the courthouse Saturday, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The only slightly different method of voting allowed is curbside voting, he said.

Curbside voting is used if a voter cannot physically get to the polls.

In curbside voting, two election workers can bring the sign-in book and a ballot to a voter’s car. The voter marks his ballot, then gives it to the poll workers.

“It would still be like regular voting, you just have someone bring it to your car,” Gardner said.

Gardner said his office sees curbside voting once or twice each election.

It is vital that voters cast their ballots at the right precincts. Otherwise, their votes won’t count, he said.

Another, more curious, occurrence is when someone votes by absentee ballot and mails it in but dies after he has mailed it.

“Does the ballot count?” Gardner asked. “No, it doesn’t. The law doesn’t allow it because you can’t count a deceased person’s vote.”