Canton poll managers drilled Madison County Election Commissioners Wednesday morning for placing a number of voters on the inactive voter list, forcing those voters to vote in last Tuesday’s general election by affidavit ballot. 

Jimmie Lee Vanburen with Precinct 406 at Greater Mount Levi Baptist Church said the commissioners were creating “problems” for them by removing voters from the rolls. 

“We have problems, problems, problems and you’re creating more problems for us,” she said. 

Vanburen said people that have voted at the same precinct for years were not on the list. In total, she said there were eight who voted by affidavit ballot. 

“This is just me personally, if you can’t do your work and do it right, you don’t need to be on the board,” she said.

“Eight affidavit ballots is not a lot,” District 1 Commissioner Timothy Jenkins said. “I had 146 at one precinct and 90 percent of those gave two addresses.”

Jenkins said so many people are listed on the voter rolls in multiple counties. 

“Out of 146 names on there, there were only about four or five that were actually coming to the correct precinct,” he said. 

Dorothy Jackson said three people who vote at her precinct have always voted there but were entered as inactive. 

“We did give them an affidavit,” Jackson said. “They were not satisfied.”

Barbara Brown, manager for Precinct 416, said they had over 40 affidavit ballots.

“I want to know how you go about taking people off the roll book,” she said. “I know that area. I know where they live. I know a lot of people don’t vote until like president, stuff like that, but it’s still not a reason to take them off the book.”

Jenkins explained they don’t purge anybody from the rolls just because of voter inactivity. He said the process usually begins when jury summons are returned back to the circuit court as undeliverable. From there, he said they send out a voter registration confirmation card. If that returns as undeliverable as well, they are moved to inactive. After two federal election cycles of being inactive, he said, they are then purged from the rolls. 

Brown asked if people who filled out an affidavit ballot would be returned to the rolls. Jenkins said as long as they are legal and at the appropriate address.

District 4 Election Commissioner Azzie Jackson Adams then chided in, saying they aren’t supposed to be making anybody inactive just because they don’t vote. 

“Most people don’t vote until it’s a presidential election,” she said. 

Jenkins said Madison County’s voter rolls were 108 percent of the voting-age population, meaning thousands of people are on the rolls that shouldn’t be. The current number of people on the inactive list is 13,671.

“Every 18 to 99-year-old is not registered in Madison County,” he said. “When you have 108 percent that’s the problem.”

He said many are registered to vote in two different counties and shouldn’t be.

Board Attorney Spence Flatgard said he understands the problems associated with voting by affidavit ballot, but they were tasked by the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office to clean up voters rolls and nobody’s right to vote has been taken away.

“We all want accurate voting lists,” he said. “All these commissioners inherited a problem of bloated voter rolls. The law is set up where you can vote.”

Flatgard said by filling out affidavit ballots they are able to then update the rolls and get jury summons issued to those people. 

District 3 Commissioner Pat Truesdale said they scanned in over 500 affidavit ballots from last Tuesday that counted. 

“A lot of them had moved in an apartment complex,” she said. “Now we got the new apartment number.”

District 2 Commissioner Julia Hodges had a different affidavit story to tell, asking Flatgard to approach the Madison County District Attorney’s Office over potential voter fraud. 

She said there are seven people who have listed the UPS store on Main Street in Madison as their home address. Of those seven, three voted by affidavit ballot last Tuesday. 

“I physically went to the UPS store and looked like a crazy person,” she said, asking the staff multiple times if anybody lived there. “It’s not good.”