WJTV News Channel 12 - Tea Party Election Observers To Monitor Miss. Senate Runoff

Tea Party Election Observers To Monitor Miss. Senate Runoff

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Tea party groups supporting Chris McDaniel plan to send poll watchers to observe Tuesday’s Republican US Senate runoff race between the state senator and Senator Thad Cochran.

Since Cochran came in a close second in the June 3rd primary, third party groups backing the veteran GOP senator have been reaching out to Democrats and African Americans, encouraging them to cross over and vote for Cochran. 

However, a lawyer for tea party groups claim that's a violation of state law 23-15-575, which prevents a voter from participating in a party primary, unless they plan to support that nominee in November.

Jackie Bland, a Byram insurance agent, told us “I’m a Democrat supporting Cochran.” Bland, who’s black, says she plans to crossover and vote for Cochran in November. Bland, who voted for Democratic Senate nominee Travis Childers, says “there is nothing illegal about party crossover” voting.      

Democratic and Republican officials told us that law has never been enforced and it’s not enforceable. They say voters can't be compelled to divulge who they intend to vote for before they're allowed to do so.

Former US Justice Department lawyer J. Christian Adams will be coordinating election observers on behalf of Freedom Works, Senate Conservatives Fund and Tea Party Patriots. Adams won’t tell how many observers they’ve trained or where they would be sent. He did say they won't just focus crossover law, but will make sure all state voting laws are enforced.      

The Mississippi NAACP chapter is concerned the presence of poll watchers that could lead to voter intimidation or suppression.

"We are encouraging voters to go to the polls do not let anyone discourage you from casting your ballot, you have a right to vote," said chapter president Derrick Johnson.

There is thing to remember if you voted in the Democratic primary three weeks ago, you can't cast a ballot in the Republican runoff, according to state law. Anyone who didn't take part in the June 3rd primary, can vote tomorrow.

The Attorney General and Secretary of State’s office also plan to send observers to monitor the election.  

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