HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – A Hinds County judge has issued an emergency order to allow polling precincts in the county to remain open until 8:00 p.m. CT.
Hinds County Supervisor Robert Graham, District 1, said Judge Dewayne Thomas issued the emergency ruling on Tuesday, November 7, which is the date of the General Election in Mississippi.
Another judge said four polling places in some suburbs of Jackson had to extend voting until 9:00 p.m. CT.
The rulings came after both political parties and a nonpartisan group, Mississippi Votes, petitioned for the additional voting time in Hinds County. Several polling precincts in the county have reported issues throughout the day, including ones not having enough ballots for voters.
Hinds County Supervisor Credell Calhoun, District 3, said he had heard of at least seven precincts that ran out of ballots. He said the county’s election commissioners underestimated turnout.
“This is way beyond anything we’ve ever seen in the electoral process,” Calhoun said. “As hard as we worked to get the vote out and then you’re going to have stupidity to not have enough ballots.”
“The Hinds County Supervisors went above and beyond to make sure that this election would be carried out safely and effectively. It is so disheartening and frustrating for our Hinds County Election Commission to drop the ball in this manner pertained to one of the most important elections in Mississippi history,” said Hinds County Administrator Kenneth Wayne Jones.
The Secretary of State’s Office said they’re aware of the ballot issues in Hinds County precincts. They said they have received complaints from the Elections Hotline and have dispersed poll observers to the area.
For the General Election, Mississippi law charges counties to print 60% of the active voter count. County officials then decide how to distribute ballots among precincts, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Polls are usually open between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on election days in Mississippi. According to state law, any voter in line at 7:00 p.m. CT is legally entitled to cast a ballot.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.