Nonprofit suing over voter rolls in two Miss. counties

JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY and WALTHALL COUNTY — A nonprofit group has filed a federal lawsuit that claims Jefferson Davis and Walthall counties have more registered voters on the books than residents eligible to vote.

The Hattiesburg American reports the American Civil Rights Union sued the counties’ election commissions in U.S. District Court late last month.

The group wants the court to declare violations of the National Voting Registration Act of 1993 and force the counties to update its registration list.

The Walthall County complaint alleges that more than 124 percent of residents eligible to vote were registered, with the 2010 U.S. Census indicating 11,368 eligible voters while 14,108 voters are registered.

The Jefferson Davis County complaint alleges Jefferson Davis County has 10,078 registered voters with a voting age population of only 9,563 according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The complaint also alleges the unmaintained rolls have resulted in voter fraud, including the 2007 race for circuit clerk.

“Circuit Judge Forrest Johnson of Natchez determined at least 26 cases of voting irregularities occurred in that contest, including at least one instance where a vote was cast in the name of a voter who had died,” the complaint states.

Jefferson Davis County Circuit Clerk Clint Langley said the numbers in the complaint are incorrect.

“We are somewhat overinflated, but not to the point of a lawsuit,” he said. “The rolls are as clean as they’ve been in years.”

He said the rolls have been purged in recent years from nearly 3,000 extra names to about 400 now.

“We continue to work on it every day,” he said.

Walthall County Election Commission Chair William Ratliff echoed the clerk’s sentiment.

“This has been an ongoing problem for a long time,” he said.

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