Delbert Hosemann

Delbert Hosemann, Mississippi Secretary of State

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and his staff are hosting a special community meeting at the DeSoto County Courthouse in Hernando today in advance of the No. 6 general election and simultaneous special nonpartisan election for the open U.S. Senate seat.

The meeting is slated for 2:30 p.m. in the main second story courtroom of the DeSoto County Courthouse.

"We're holding these meetings all over the state because of low voter turnout and to head of concerns related to cyber security," said Leah Rupp Smith, Attorney/Assistant Secretary of State of Communications in the Executive Division of the Mississippi Secretary of State's Office. "These are open to the public and we expect this one to be very well attended."

Hosemann said he wanted to address voters' concerns and allay any fears of potential interference.

"We have a sound voter ID law in this State, trained observers, and competent circuit clerks and election commissioners who are prepared for the election," Hosemann said. "Every day we come in to the Office, we are working on our cyber security protocols for our voter registration system and other initiatives to ensure our elections are secure.

"We remind voters, the dissemination of false candidate information is a much larger risk to the electoral process. All voters should carefully review the actual candidates' positions and statements going into the Nov. 6 election."

Dale Thompson, DeSoto County Circuit Clerk, said Wednesday that voters should rest assured all precautions are being taken to ensure voter integrity at the polls and during the tabulating process.

"I don't think we'll be in any trouble with our voting system," Thompson said. "We're not connected with the outside internet. There have been some concerns about modeming our results on election night but we have all the results on a zip drive and ballots to back it up. I don't think we'll have a problem."

DeSoto County Election Commissioner Danny Klein said as election systems go, DeSoto County is one of the safest and secure.

"Our system is a stand-alone system," Klein said. "We're not using any web-based system. Anything we put in is put in by cellular and is encrypted so we feel like it is very safe. We have checks and balances. We double check everything. That's why we call it unofficial results on election day."

No less than 17 national security experts have warned U.S. officials about election inference from overseas operatives in Russia and perhaps China.

A bipartisan panel of congressional officials have agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday that would punish foreigners linked to election interference.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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