Mississippi Code Title 23. Elections § 23-15-639. Examination of ballots

(1) In elections in which direct recording electronic voting systems are not utilized, the examination and counting of absentee ballots shall be conducted as follows:

(a) At the close of the regular balloting and at the close of the polls, the election managers of each voting precinct shall first take the envelopes containing the absentee ballots of such electors from the box, and the name, address and precinct inscribed on each envelope shall be announced by the election managers.

(b) The signature on the application shall then be compared with the signature on the back of the envelope.  If it corresponds and the affidavit, if one is required, is sufficient and the election managers find that the applicant is a registered and qualified voter or otherwise qualified to vote, and that he has not appeared in person and voted at the election, the envelope shall then be opened and the ballot removed from the envelope, without its being unfolded, or permitted to be unfolded or examined.

(c) Having observed and found the ballot to be regular as far as can be observed from its official endorsement, the election managers shall deposit it in the ballot box with the other ballots before counting any ballots and enter the voter's name in the receipt book provided for that purpose and mark “VOTED” in the pollbook or poll list as if he had been present and voted in person.  If voting machines are used, all absentee ballots shall be placed in the ballot box before any ballots are counted, and the election managers in each precinct shall immediately count such absentee ballots and add them to the votes cast in the voting machine or device.

(2) In elections in which direct recording electronic voting systems are utilized, the examination and counting of absentee ballots shall be conducted as follows:

(a) At the close of the regular balloting and at the close of the polls, the election managers of each voting precinct shall first take the envelopes containing the absentee ballots of such electors from the box, and the name, address and precinct inscribed on each envelope shall be announced by the election managers.

(b) The signature on the application shall then be compared with the signature on the back of the envelope.  If it corresponds and the affidavit, if one is required, is sufficient and the election managers find that the applicant is a registered and qualified voter or otherwise qualified to vote, and that he has not appeared in person and voted at the election, the unopened envelope shall be marked “ACCEPTED” and the election managers shall enter the voter's name in the receipt book provided for that purpose and mark “VOTED” in the pollbook or poll list as if he had been present and voted in person.

(c) All absentee ballot envelopes shall then be placed in the secure ballot transfer case and delivered to the officials in charge of conducting the election at the central tabulation point of the county.  The official in charge of the election shall open the envelopes marked “ACCEPTED” and remove the ballot from the envelope.

(d) Having observed the ballot to be regular as far as can be observed from its official endorsement, the absentee ballot shall be processed through the central optical scanner.  The scanned totals shall then be combined with the direct recording electronic voting system totals for the unofficial vote count.

When there is a conflict between an electronic voting system and a paper record, then there is a rebuttable presumption that the paper record is correct.

(3) The election managers shall also take such action as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State to ensure compliance with the identification requirements of Section 23-15-563 .


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