High turnout, possible lines expected

Published 7:45 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NATCHEZ — High voter turnout is expected today with 65 to 70 percent of registered voters casting ballots, Adams County Election Commission Chairman Larry Gardner said.

Gardner requested that voters be patient in the case of lines at polling precincts.

“One thing we want to do is have people be patient if voter turnout is as high as expected,” he said.

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If many people turn out, the poll workers will be tied up assisting voters and Gardner said sometimes that can lead to frustrations.

“The poll workers are doing the best they can,” he said. “Please have some patience with them as they try to help the voters.”

The polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. today in Mississippi and from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Louisiana. Gardner said it would be best to avoid the high traffic times, which would be before work hours, lunchtime and after work hours.

“If they could vote off those peak hours they could eliminate having to stand in line. That would help them tremendously,” he said.

He said things should move smoothly though because the Adams County ballot is short, with only the presidential race, two Senate seats, District 2 Supreme Court Justice, Third Congressional District U.S. House of Representatives and the Adams County Election Commission.

The Louisiana ballot is only slightly longer, containing a U.S. Senate seat, a judge’s race and a local justice of the peace race plus several amendments and a proposition.

Gardner’s other piece of advice to voters is to not get mixed up on where to vote.

“This is not a city election, do not go to the city ward and vote, go to your county precinct,” he said.

Already questions and confusion have been raised over where to vote, but Gardner said anyone in doubt can call the election commission at 601-445-7905.

Election results should be in late tonight and the president will be announced if all goes well. But he also said several states have reported voter registration problems, and combined with a close race, results may not be available tonight.

“I think with all the controversy going on out there (and) with it as close as everybody says it’s going to be, I’m not sure if we will know who the president is going to be,” he said.

Local Republican party leader Johnny Junkin said he feels the results will be announced tonight.

“It’ll be late (tonight) but I think they could easily know,” he said.

He said there is a slight possibility that the race would be close enough that absentee ballots would need to be counted, but that typically isn’t the case in presidential elections.

He said that certainly won’t be the case in Mississippi, but may be in swing states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Democratic party leader Everett Sanders said he’s somewhat worried about the way Pennsylvania and Ohio swing.

“There seems to be a tightening of the race in Pennsylvania, but Senator Obama is still leading according to the latest polls, that’s within the margin of error,” he said. “That creates some concern for me, however there is still a path for victory even without Pennsylvania.”

Sanders said he, too, believes the presidential results should be announced tonight.

If absentee ballots must be counted, though, Junkin said it will probably only be one additional day before the results are announced.