Gloster Mayor Billie Johnson has turned himself into authorities, admitting he committed voter fraud by helping voters fill out absentee ballots for an election in which his name appears on the ballot. Mississippi Conservative Daily’s reporting led to The Enterprise-Journal’s coverage of this crime.
This site first reported evidence of the voter fraud in Gloster on Monday, May 15, but it took until Thursday, May 18, for the Enterprise-Journal to report Billie Johnson’s fraud took place in a story posted online which sits behind a pay wall.
In a tale called “Gloster voter fraud claims probed,” Enterprise-Journal reporter Ernest Herndon opens by backdating Mayor Billie Johnson’s admission of guilt, highlighting a quote from Delbert Hosemann’s spokeswoman Leah Smith.
“Last week the mayor called the Elections Division and self-reported that he had helped two voters that are distant relatives absentee-vote,” Leah Smith told the Enterprise-Journal.
Herndon’s story at once takes on the tone of an apology for Mayor Johnson’s crime. Herndon takes great care out front to make sure his readers know absentee voters may request assistance with their ballots, before admitting candidates are not allowed to help.
Herndon fails to mention that it’s not a mere rule. It’s the law.
As Mississippi Conservative Daily reported Monday, § 23-15-631 states the following:
“The voter may be given assistance by anyone of the voter’s choice other than a candidate whose name appears on the absentee ballot being marked, or the voter’s employer, or agent of that employer.”
Herndon continues his nonchalant coverage by including a quote from Hoseman’s staffer Smith relaying that Hosemann’s office had forwarded the issue along to Attorney General Jim Hood’s office.
Jim Hood, by way of spokeswoman Margaret Ann Morgan, refused to comment on the case against Mayor Johnson.
That Hosemann’s office would seek to pass the buck so quickly to Jim Hood’s office is interesting, even if it is the correct thing to do.
Delbert Hosemann’s Secretary of State office is charged with ensuring fair elections. His office insists he performs that task very well.
Just last fall he claimed “Mississippi’s elections are not rigged,” and followed that claim up with a press conference patting himself on the back. any problems with voting were “minimal, isolated and quickly rectified.” And
Hosemann even took to CBS News to claim that “any problems with voting were minimal, isolated and quickly rectified.”
Hosemann even uses state funds to purchase radio spots touting the high quality of Mississippi’s elections under his watch. Then he brags to government funded NPR about his cute government funded ads.
In this ad, Delbert spends Mississippi taxpayer dollars to prove to the people that he really, really cares about voting going right.
Yet Hosemann has been silent on calling for Atty. General Jim Hood to prosecute Mayor Billie Johnson in Gloster.
It is Hosemann’s responsibility to ensure City Clerk Monzella Tickles carries out elections with integrity.
Yet Monzella Tickles, when asked by a local citizen why the mayor was helping voters complete their ballots, bragged about being a clerk for 25 years,
At the same time Monzella claimed she was unaware that a mayor was not allowed to be present while voters complete their absentee ballots while the mayor’s name is on the ballot.
The reader can determine for him or herself whether Monzella has been well equipped by Hosemann and his staff.
Sec. State Hosemann should not end his involvement by passing the Johnson voter fraud case to Attorney General Hood.
Hosemann should call for a full investigation into Mayor Johnson’s behavior to be sure Johnson didn’t tamper with any more ballots.
Turning a blind eye to voter fraud would not be new for Hosemann.
Hosemann loudly insisted he was doing job while refusing to call attention to voter fraud in Mississippi’s 2014 U.S. Senate election, even going so far as to call it a “distraction.”
Hosemann would do well to spend less time trying to look like he’s doing his job and actually doing it.