Miss-Lou officials report record early voting numbers

Published 12:06 am Saturday, October 31, 2020

NATCHEZ — Miss-Lou voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, but a large number of voters have already cast their ballots, local election officials said.

In Adams County, 2,771 of the county’s 19,311 registered voters had already cast absentee ballots by Friday morning, said Eva Givens, Adams County circuit clerk.

“It is a lot,” Givens said of the absentee turnout. “I’m predicting at least 3,000 will have voted absentee, because we have today, and we are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.”

By comparison, last presidential election in 2016, Givens said only 1,574 Adams County voters cast absentee ballots.

Absentee voting began in Adams County this year on Sept. 22 and lasted through 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, as Givens kept the Adams County Circuit Clerk’s office open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday.

Mail in ballots must be postmarked by 5 p.m. Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 3, Givens said.

Despite the large number of absentee ballots, Givens said election workers are still anticipating a big turnout on Election Day.

“I’m pretty sure we are going to have a big turnout this time,” Givens said, adding that people cannot be required to wear masks but that voters are strongly encouraged to wear masks to the polling places.

Poll workers will be sanitizing the machines and surfaces regularly, Givens said, and will be handing out fresh ink pens.

“Wear a mask and stay safe,” Givens said. “Anyone who will be out of town or working on Election Day can come vote absentee until 5 p.m. Saturday.”

In Concordia Parish, election workers said they have set a new early voting record with 3,121 people having cast early ballots in person. By comparison, 2,243 cast early ballots in Concordia Parish before the last presidential election in 2016.

“It is a record,” said Melissa Jenkins, chief deputy for the Concordia Parish Registrar’s office. “Early voting ended on Oct. 27 (in Concordia Parish) and absentee ballots must be returned by Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m. We have to have them in the office by then.”

On ballots in Mississippi this year are races for U.S. President, U.S. House or Representatives Third Congressional District, a U.S. Senate seat and three ballot measures.

One Mississippi ballot measure is whether to adopt a new state flag proposed by a state flag committee that features a magnolia and the words “In God We Trust,” a measure to allow medical marijuana in Mississippi and a measure to end a Reconstruction-era election procedure in Mississippi.

“Mississippians will vote to decide whether or not they want to eliminate a Reconstruction-era electoral college provision in races for governor and other statewide offices,” the Associated Press reports. “The Mississippi Constitution currently requires a statewide candidate to win a majority of the popular vote and a majority of the electoral vote. One electoral vote goes to the candidate receiving the most support in each of the 122 state House districts. If nobody wins both the popular vote and the electoral vote, the race is decided by the state House. But representatives are not obligated to vote as their districts did.

“Mississippi is the only state with the multistep process for electing a governor. The process was written when white politicians across the South were enacting laws to erase Black political power gained during Reconstruction. The separate House vote was promoted as a way for the white ruling class have the final say in who holds office.

“Black plaintiffs sued the state over its electoral process last year. Days before the 2019 governor’s race, U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III wrote that he has ‘grave concern’ about the constitutionality of the electoral vote provision. Jordan wrote that the plaintiffs’ argument about violation of one person, one vote is “arguably … their strongest claim.’”

Also in Mississippi and Adams County, voters will vote for an uncontested Mississippi Supreme Court judge and for Adams County Election Commissioners in five districts. None of the election commission seats are contested.

Below are candidates on the ballots for:

Adams County Election Commissioners running unopposed:

District 1: Tracy Meng Gaude

District 2: Larry E. Gardner

District 3: Frances Thompson Bailey

District 4: Shelly “Shirley” F. Frazier

District 5: Doris Marie Rice

U.S. Senate

Mike Espy, Democrat

Incumbent Cindy Hyde-Smith, Republican

Jimmy L. Edwards, Libertarian

U.S. President and Vice President

Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Kamala D. Harris, Democrat

Incumbents Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence, Republican

Don Blankenship and William Mohr, American Constitution

Brian Carroll and Amar Patel, American Solidarity

Phil Collins and Bill Parker, Independent

Howie Hawkins and Angela Nicole Walker, Green

Jo Jorgensen and Jeremy “Spike” Cohn, Libertarian

Brock Pierce and Karla Ballard, Independent

Kanye West and Michelle Tidball, Independent

U.S. House of Representatives Third Congressional District

Dorothy Dot Benford, Democrat

Incumbent Michael Guest, Republican

Nonpartisan judicial election for Mississippi Supreme Court Justice District 2, position 3

Mike Randolph

Below is a list of precincts for Tuesday’s General Election

District 1

*Adams County Courthouse, 115 S. Wall St.

*Bypass Fire Station, the Natchez Mall, 350 John R. Junkin Drive

*Bellmont, Crosspoint Church, 285 highland Boulevard

District 2:

*Duncan Park, Canteen, 57 Duncan Park Road

*Beau Pre, Calvary Baptist Church, 522 U.S. 61 S.

*Liberty Park, Adams County Safe Room, 323 Liberty Road

*Kingston Community Center, 799 Kingston Road

District 3:

*Concord, Christian Hope Baptist Church, 301 Lasalle St.

*Marilyn Heights, Recreation Building, 111 Dumas Dr.

*Natchez Public Schools, David R. Steckler Multipurpose Building, 311 Liberty Road

*Palestine, Liberty Road Volunteer Fire Department, 1196 Liberty Road

Precinct 4:

*Northside, Frazier School, 1445 George F. West Boulevard

*Carpenter, Rose Hill Baptist Church, 607 ½ Madison St.

*Morgantown, Morgantown  School, 101 Cottage Home Dr.

*Pine Ridge, District 4 Barn at 176 Foster Mound Road

Precinct 5:

*Airport Terminal, 434 Airport Road

*Foster Mound, District 5 Fire Station, 228 Foster Mound Road

*Oakland, Lovely Lane Methodist Church 65 Morgantown Road

*Washington, New Hope Baptist Church, 417 Morgantown Road