Elections

Who’s voting for president already? Coast absentee voters, that’s who

Wilfred Nettles of Gulfport puts his ballot in the box on Friday, Oct.28, 2016 for absentee voting at the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's office in Gulfport.
Wilfred Nettles of Gulfport puts his ballot in the box on Friday, Oct.28, 2016 for absentee voting at the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's office in Gulfport. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

And they’re off.

Voters are tuning in, turning out and casting their absentee ballots in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties.

Absentee voting started Sept. 26. Both in person and through the mail, absentee voting allows people who cannot make it to the polls the opportunity to vote ahead of Election Day.

“It’s been pretty much nonstop for us,” said Harrison County Circuit Clerk Connie Ladner. “We had as many as 100 people come in the office and vote absentee a few days ago.”

Out of the almost 3,400 absentee ballot requests that were serviced, Ladner said about 2,500 have already been received by her office either in person or through the mail.

A person is only allowed to vote absentee in Mississippi for one of the following reasons: The person cannot be present at the polls the day of the election, including military overseas; the voter has to work during the hours the polls are open (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.); or if the voter is 65 and older.

“We’ve been very busy,” said Hancock County Deputy Circuit Clerk Kendra Maggiore. “We’ve processed about 1,200 ballots.”

Jackson County is also reporting a good turnout, especially with in-person absentee voting.

“We’ve had a great deal of foot traffic,” said Jackson County Circuit Clerk Randy Carney. “We’ve checked in 1,494 ballots of the 2,189 we sent out.”

The ballots are for the Nov. 8 presidential election between Republican Donald Trump, Democrat Hillary Clinton and third party candidates.

The race for the 4th Congressional District between Republican incumbent Steven Palazzo, Democrat Mark Gladney, Libertarian Ric McCluskey and Reform Party candidate Shawn O’Hara, as well as some other judicial elections, will be on ballots across the Coast.

In-person absentee voting ends Saturday, Nov. 5, at noon. All mailed absentee ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 7.

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