Mississippi court upholds Democratic primary ballot change

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The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld its ruling Friday that another candidate must be added to the March 8 Democratic presidential primary ballot.

The court, in a 6-3 ruling, said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann doesn’t have to reissue already-sent absentee ballots to include Chicago businessman Willie Wilson’s name.

The ruling rejected Hosemann’s request that the court overturn its Thursday ruling, or at least allow him to resend absentee ballots including Wilson to roughly 200 military and other voters outside the country, so they would get the same ballot as voters at the polls. Absentee voting started Jan. 23 for those voters.

Hosemann said about 7,000 absentee ballots have also been sent to people in Mississippi.

“I am diametrically opposed to having different ballots,” Hosemann said.

Most counties vote electronically, but some use paper ballots that must be reprinted, and Hosemann’s office told the court changes would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

More than 7,000 voting machines have already been tested with a previously set ballot that lists five candidates in the Democratic presidential primary: Hillary Clinton, Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. The ballot was prepared before O’Malley dropped out.

Mississippi law says the secretary of state puts nationally recognized presidential candidates on the Democratic and Republican primary ballots. Other presidential candidates can get on the ballot by submitting a petition with at least 500 signatures.

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