The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
On Tuesday, voters will finally head to the polls to cast ballots in the much-anticipated 2016 general election.
Polling places will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said he’s hopeful Tuesday’s election will see higher than average voter turnout. He said he was concerned at the beginning of the week about a low number of requested absentee ballots compared to 2012.
“We had around 71,000 requested ballots on Monday, and I had some concerns about that,” he said. “I was just informed that we had a huge increase — about 25,000 just this week to put us at about 96,000. What that tells me is people in Mississippi are starting to focus in on the election.
“We had 106,000 absentee ballots in 2012,” he added. “Now, we may come close to that. I wouldn’t have anticipated that at the beginning of the week. …The surge is a healthy sign to me.”
In Lowndes County, more than 1,300 absentee ballots have been cast, and Circuit Clerk Teresa Barksdale said she’s expecting high turnout on Tuesday.
“We’re going to have heavy turnout if there’s any indication from the high traffic we’ve had here (already),” she said. “Presidential years are usually the big years.”
Tuesday’s election will be the first presidential election since Mississippi’s voter ID law took effect in 2014. Voters must show a government-issued photo ID in order for their ballot to be counted.
Valid ID types include a driver’s license; any photo ID issued by the state of Mississippi; a U.S. passport; a government employee ID card; a firearms license; a student photo ID issued by any accredited Mississippi university, college or junior college; a U.S. military ID; a tribal photo ID; any photo ID issued by the U.S. government; or a Mississippi voter identification card.
Leah Smith, communications director for the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, said voters who do not have a photo ID can cast an affidavit ballot on Election Day. After that, she said, they will have five business days to obtain a photo ID in order for their ballot to be counted. She said Nov. 16 marks the deadline to obtain an ID after Tuesday’s election.
Smith said circuit clerks’ offices can issue Mississippi voter ID cards. Voters who need transportation in order to get a voter ID card can call (844)-678-6837.
Voters who have questions about how or where to vote or experience issues at the polling place can call the Mississippi Elections Hotline at (800)-829-6786. They can also visit www.sos.ms.gov/vote for more information.
This year’s election is headlined by the U.S. presidential race. Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are the two leading candidates in the race, followed by Libertarian Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green Party. The ballot also includes candidates from three other parties: Darrel Castle and Scott N. Bradley of the Constitution Party; “Rocky” Roque De La Fuente and Michael Steinberg of the American Delta Party; and Jim Hedges and Bill Bayes of the Prohibition Party.
Voters will also choose the U.S. House of Representatives 1st Congressional District race between Republican Trent Kelly, Democrat Jacob Owens, Reform Party candidate Cathy L. Toole, and Libertarian Chase Wilson.
The Supreme Court District 3, Position 1 race is also included on Tuesday’s ballot. The nonpartisan race features four candidates, including John Brady, Bobby Chamberlin, Steve Crampton and James T. “Jim” Kitchens.
The ballot includes a race for the state Court of Appeals District 3, Position 1, seat between Ed Hannan, Jack Wilson and Dow Yoder, as well as a number of uncontested local races for county school board and election commissioner posts.
Posted on November 8, 2016 by Alex Holloway