Circuit Judge Paul Funderburk administered the oath in the courtroom of the Alcorn County Courthouse for Bobby McDaniel, district 1; John Peebles, district 2; Kim Ratliff, district 3; Sandy Coleman Mitchell, district 4; and Wendell Dixon, district 5.
They are the individuals responsible for managing general and special elections in the county, maintaining the voter rolls, and hiring and managing the numerous poll workers who carry out the elections in the 17 county precincts.
“Nobody realizes, unless you’ve been there, what the election commissioners do,” said Circuit Clerk Joe Caldwell, who works alongside the commissioners to hold elections. “There is a lot of responsibility. You’ve got to cross the T’s and dot the I’s.”
He said the county is fortunate to have a good working relationship between the clerk’s office and the commissioners — something that is not necessarily true in a number of other Mississippi counties.
The commission’s senior member, Dixon, is beginning a ninth four-year term. McDaniel is beginning a fifth term, and Peebles is going into his fourth. Mitchell is beginning her first full term after serving a portion of a term.
New to the commission is Ratliff, a City of Corinth employee with code enforcement duties and pastor of St. Mark Baptist Church. He is feeling humbled by the job the voters have given him.
“I look forward to this opportunity to learn, serve and grow in this role,” said Ratliff. “Being a lover of people, I am also looking forward to the opportunity to develop more relationships.”
Funderburk talked about the challenges that face election commissions.
“Most people have no idea of the duties and responsibilities that are imposed on election commissioners in each of the counties of this state,” he said. “There are many, many statutes that set out your duties and responsibilities. On the other hand, there is nothing in there that tells you how to go about performing those duties.”
Barring any special elections that might arise, this is an “off” election year with nothing scheduled at the county, state or federal level. Most municipalities across the state will have elections this year.