Avoid the wait; vote early

Published 11:59 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2007

NATCHEZ — Don’t want to stand in line on Election Day? Have someplace to be? Working late?

The answer to those problems is to vote by absentee ballot, Election Commission Chair Larry Gardner said.

Natchez residents can mail in absentee ballots or come in to the courthouse and fill out one, he said.

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And although Mississippi requires voters list a reason they are voting early, it’s usually not a problem, Gardner said.

“There are so many reasons,” he said. “I think there’s a reason for everyone out there. They cover just about any scenario.”

Often times, people will ask for a Democrat or Republican ballot, but they change their minds after they vote, Gardner said.

“The best thing to do is look at the sample ballots posted on the walls at the courthouse,” Gardner said. “They’re based on Democratic and Republican ballots in different precincts. People need to look at the ballot carefully to see that’s the ballot they want to vote on.”

That way, when a voter goes to the circuit clerk’s office to ask for a ballot, they know which one they want.

The circuit clerk’s office has received roughly 300 absentee ballots already, an employee at the clerk’s office said Wednesday.

Absentee ballots also take the pressure off precincts, Gardner said, which means shorter lines to the polls.

Primary elections will be Aug. 7, but Gardner said he encourages people to come in before Election Day to make sure they know which precinct in which they will vote.

Anyone with questions should call the circuit clerk’s office at 446-4326 or the election commissioners’ office at 445-7905.