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Secretary of State Visits OHS Classroom to "Promote the Vote"

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann visited a classroom at Oxford High School today as part of his “Promote the Vote” program.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann visited an Oxford High School (OHS) classroom today to discuss an art and essay contest for students as part of his ongoing “Promote the Vote” program.

The contest awards $100 for the best entries in various age groups under the Visual Arts and Writing categories.
“The future of Mississippi is sitting in your chair,” Hosemann told the students in OHS teacher Joe Sabatier’s history class. “You’re the future.”
The main goal of the program is to get young people thinking about the issues facing the state and to encourage them to vote, Hosemann said. In the Visual Arts category of the contest, titled “My Mississippi,” students will design artwork that depicts a symbol, landmark, industry or person important to their region of the state. In the Writing category, themed “Moving Forward,” entrants will write a 500-word essay about the most important issues facing their region and how they can be addressed. Students can sign up for the contest at www.sos.ms.gov/ptv.

Delbert Hosemann poses with OHS students after speaking to their class about an art and essay contest. Photo by Kelly Graeber

“I want them to go vote,” Hosemann said. “I’ve been to Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq while the war is going on. [American troops] are in fox holes and on sides of mountains in Afghanistan. I think it’s really important that we honor them by casting a ballot. People are risking their lives for you to be here. The way you honor them is to go and cast a ballot.”
In an interview with HottyToddy.com after his classroom visit, Hosemann touched on other voting issues. Asked if there is a problem with widespread voter fraud, he said, “No, I don’t think so. Not in Mississippi. I can’t speak for the rest of the country … We have elected election commissioners. They police that.”
But he said fraud does occur and that his office has worked with the counties to purge voter rolls.
“When I started, there were 27 counties that had more people registered to vote than there were people alive over 18,” he said. “I think we’re down to one or two [counties] now. A lot of purging, a lot of work has gone into that. Do we have issues concerning the integrity of the vote? Yes, but they are probably more [local] than statewide … I think a review of the entire system, particularly as it involves purging, would be appropriate.”
Hosemann also said protecting voter data from hackers is a major concern, making it unlikely that online voting is in Mississippi’s future.
“At some times, we have as many as 200 to 300 significant attempts to penetrate the statewide election management system a month,” he said.
Firewalls, encrypted data and cloud storage of information still may not be enough to thwart hackers looking to steal information. Referring to well-known hacks of the CIA and last year’s Democratic nominee for president, Hosemann said, “If the CIA can’t keep theirs secret and Mrs. Clinton couldn’t keep hers secret, I mean, who can?”
“I have great trepidations about opening our vote—actual casting of ballots—to the Internet,” he said. “Currently all of our 7,000 voting machines are individually carded and not connected to the Internet. So unless we have 7,000 Russians show up here, we’re probably going to be OK.”

Rick Hynum is editor-in-chief of HottyToddy.com. Email him at rick.hynum@hottytoddy.com.

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