With a little more than two weeks to go until election day, more than 500 voters have already cast ballots.
Absentee voting is underway and will run through Nov. 5 for this year’s general election, which features two contested circuit judge races for Lowndes, Oktibbeha, Clay and Noxubee County voters. Golden Triangle ballots will also feature a contested U.S. House race in the 1st or 3rd District, and some will include a special election for District 37 Mississippi representative.
In Oktibbeha County, three candidates are vying to become the first county court judge.
Election day is Nov. 8, where polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those 65 and older, or those who will be out of town or working on election day, can cast absentee ballots in person or by mail through the circuit clerk’s office in their county. Voters with permanent disabilities can also vote absentee, either in person or by mail, and students studying somewhere other than where they are registered to vote can vote absentee by mail.
Voters can cast absentee ballots from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekdays. Courthouses also will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Oct. 29 and Nov. 5, both of which are Saturdays. Absentee voters must present a valid photo ID.
“We prefer a driver’s license, but there are other options, like a student ID card,” Lowndes County Circuit Clerk Teresa Barksdale said. “We’re mainly looking for the photo, not comparing addresses or anything like that.”
Oktibbeha County Circuit Clerk Tony Rook urged voters to make sure their address information on the voter rolls is up to date.
“That information determines where you vote, and we also want to make sure that voters are able to receive correspondence from our office,” he said. “That can’t happen if we have an old address.”
About 163 absentee ballots had been cast as of Friday in Lowndes County, Barksdale said, a little lower than expected.
“It’ll probably pick up within the next few days,” she said. “With what we’ve got on the ballot it could go either way.”
Rook said the absentee count is around 170 right now, which is higher than he expected at this point.
“This is just speculation on my part, but it’s probably the judicial races driving it,” Rook said.
Clay County Circuit Clerk Kim Hood said her office had received about 130 absentee votes so far.
“We’re seeing a steady stream,” she said. “It’s probably because of the (circuit judge) election.”
Specifically, Hood noted, the Place 3 race for circuit judge includes four candidates from Clay County.
In Noxubee County, Circuit Clerk Freda Phillips said the number of absentees cast was “very low.”
“We’ve had 47 walk-in ballots cast, and gotten between five and 10 mail-in ballots,” she said. “We’ve had a good many mail-in ballots requested, but it’s been a very slow turnaround in the mail for some reason.”
Reporter Brian Jones and Managing Editor Zack Plair contributed to this report.
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