Hattiesburg sends out wrong precinct addresses to voters

Hattiesburg sends out wrong precinct addresses to voters

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Jackie McLaurin has lived in her Hattiesburg home for almost half a century.

"We have lived here for 50 years, and we've raised three kids here," she said. "I've voted for years and years here."

For as long as she can remember she has lived in Ward 4 and voted in municipal elections at the Sigler Center, but the postcard she received in the mail from the city of Hattiesburg listed her as living and voting in Ward 2 for Tuesday's general election.

"I was just really confused with my card, and when you get old, it's easy to get confused," Mclaurin said.  "I just need to know where to go cast my vote because when you're 76, you want to make that one trip. You don't want to have to do several different things at one time."

McLaurin said she called city hall to double check and was told on the phone to vote at the location listed on her card. She finally called her current council woman Mary Dryden, who checked her address on a city ward map.

"Nowadays, if see something, you have to say something," McLaurin said. "So I called Mary this morning, and sure enough, I am in Ward 4, and I'm supposed to vote at the Sigler Center. So maybe there might be other folks that's around here that might be as confused as I am, but now I'm not confused. I knew that when this one came up, I had to get this clarified because this was wrong."

McLaurin said her street is confusing because one side is in Ward 2 and the other is in Ward 4, but hopes her misunderstanding helps someone else avoid an issue on election day.

"I said, 'well there might be confused as well,'" McLaurin said. "Being an old nurse, you know how nurses are, we're going to take care of everybody, so maybe this will clarify things. Hattiesburg has a lot of elderly people. A lot of retirees are here. We want it to be easy to vote, and we want to make it right."

Hattiesburg City Clerk Kermas Eaton said McLaurin's is the first problem he's heard about, but he said people with a similar dilemma should vote in the ward they live in, not the one on the card. They will have to vote by affidavit ballot.

"It's frustrating," McLaurin said about having to vote affidavit. "It shouldn't be that way. Voting is our privilege. It needs to be simple. One, two, three, go vote. They're going to go wherever they told them to go vote and wherever this card told them to go, but it's not right. Let's just get together and get it right."

Here are maps for each ward: