Secretary of State meets with Lauderdale County election officials

Erin Kelly / The Meridian Star 

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson

Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson made a stop in Lauderdale County Monday, part of a statewide tour to meet with election officials. 

Watson, a former state senator who was elected in November, plans to visit every county.

He spent time with Circuit Clerk Donna Jill Johnson and Election Commissioners Awana Simmons, Gloria Dancy and Chuck Overby. 

“We want to make sure that we've got good, clean, fair elections that are secure, and so having that dialogue and that line of discussion with them is important and so they know how to get in touch with us when they need it,” Watson said. “It’s really a relationship-building...listening tour.”

They discussed poll watcher guidelines, the challenges of finding poll workers, what works in Lauderdale County and what election officials need to do the job. 

“We are all thrilled to have the opportunity to be given to have our voice heard and having a place at the table,” Johnson said, following the meeting. “Often, things that are decided in Jackson, unfortunately, they don't bounce off the people who do the work. We really appreciate him reaching out...to make the system better, more defined.” 

Watson said his office has implemented several steps to protect elections and he plans to work closely with other secretaries of state around the country. 

“What we’ve seen is, if somebody does something in Ohio, more than likely you’re going to see it in another state,” he said. “It’s a lot of pieces that come together to make sure that people understand, we’re watching. We’re working hard.”

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