Now that the Sheriff's race in Hinds County is over, I can briefly comment on what went down with the Hinds County Democrat Primary on August 2nd.
In short, it was a confluence of unfortunate events. Tight races, machine failures, the race card, ballot security issues, and polls simply not being open on time combined to create one of the most chaotic elections in memory. The vast majority of the actual problems with the vote count are present in every election. There will always be folks who have trouble filling out an absentee ballot properly, and there will always be problems updating voter rolls when people register close to the deadline.
But there will not, God willing, always be instances where machine totals are wildly different from the numbers of voters. Nor will there be precincts with incomplete ballots that are used throughout the morning rush. At least, we hope.
Hinds County resembled Florida 2000 in the aftermath of the Democrat primary, and that simply cannot happen again. Everyone was quick to blame Claude McInnis, the chairman of the Hinds County Democratic Executive Committee. The vast majority of the problems were not his fault. However, he was too quick to let criticisms of the process affect him, and as a result, he made the perception worse when he excluded media from routine events such as the vote certification.
The real blame here lies with the voting machines themselves. The wild underreporting of votes from some precincts and the multiplication of votes from others greatly undermined the faith of the public in the vote totals. The Hinds County Election Commission needs to ask some tough questions of the individuals responsible for servicing these machines, and it might not be a bad idea for Secretary of State Hosemann to take a look at this as well. Not because anyone did anything wrong, but because our computerized Elections Management System may be in need of repair.