Friday, September 12, 2008

Musgrove Wins Important Ballot Battle in Mississippi

Writing for the Congressional Quarterly's online news edition, CQ staffer Rachel Kapochunas reports that a Mississippi judge has handed an important victory to Democrat Ronnie Musgrove in his effort to have the special election for US Senate in the Magnolia State placed near the top of the ballot. Musgrove is challenging interim Senator, Republican Roger Wicker who was appointed late last year by Republican Governor Haley Barbour to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of former Senator Trent Lott.

Mississippi Republicans had placed the special US Senate race at the bottom of the state ballot, below even county and local races. It was evidently an effort to discourage Mississippi voters from participating in the very important - and nationally significant - Senate race. Historically, so-called 'down-ballot' races receive far fewer votes than those at the top of the ticket. Mississippi Republicans apparently figured that the fewer votes cast in the special US Senate race, the better for their candidate. Surprise.

The judge's order overturns that decision and requires that the US Senate race be placed near the top of the ballot along with other 'national' offices. There is no word yet as to whether the Mississippi state government, or the Mississippi Republican Party, will appeal the ruling.

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