Mississippi a top state in online voting

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Presidential campaigns are in full swing and elections are just over two months away - but absentee ballots for overseas voters are just weeks from submission. For those voting outside of U.S. soil, voting starts 45 days before November 6.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann stopped into the Hattiesburg Circuit Clerk's office Wednesday, talking about absentee voting. A key focus for Mississippi this year Hosemann said, is getting service members overseas -a group with historically low election turnout - to cast ballots.

"They're interdisposed everywhere," said Hosemann of the difficulty of wrangling the votes of service members. "The groups are not necessarily all Army, some are Air Force and they have different missions and they're moving all over the world literally. So it's very hard, you can't mail them a ballot anymore. That became really obsolete. Then they went to faxing ballots. Well, not everyone has a fax on a sand dune, so the only real way to get these ballots and get our participation from the armed services up was to do electronic voting and Mississippi's taken the lead on that."

The state's online voting mechanism allows residents overseas to vote via a system that is similar to email. There has been controversy in some states over the system because it could inhibit voter ballot privacy.

Hosemann says Mississippi has integrated electronic voting more widely than nearly any other state in the country.