HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann encourages Mississippians to have a voice in their communities by voting in municipal elections.
"All of those elections are critical in Mississippi," Hosemann said Thursday on a visit to Hattiesburg. "This is literally where the rubber meets the road."
However, Hosemann said only about one out of three people votes in municipal elections, making every vote matter more.
"I'm often amazed by the few people that show up for a municipal election," he said. "Why wouldn't you go vote? Everything that goes on in day-to-day life comes out of your municipalities and their governance, and the selection of that governance is just as important."
In Hattiesburg, that selection hasn't always gone smoothly, with the last mayoral election being thrown out and redone.
"We don't want to do that again," Hosemann said. "The first general election needs to be the only general election. If people don't believe someone is elected appropriately, even by one vote, then they don't want them to govern."
Hosemann said his staff doesn't run municipal elections, but is often on the ground to ensure an election doesn't need to be thrown out. This year, his staff has trained and educated municipal clerks to try to prevent issues.
"You end up demonizing and demoralizing everybody by not casting your ballot or not having confidence in the integrity of the system," he said. "We've got a book on exactly how to do it. We want to answer any questions anybody's got, but in the end, the mayor of Hattiesburg will be elected by the people of Hattiesburg under the municipal clerk here."
Hosemann also said city governments are essential to attract new businesses, and voters should consider leaders who promote economic growth in their cities when voting.