Election officials in Mississippi are expecting a high voter turnout for today's presidential election. That's based on a surge in the number of people requesting absentee ballots.
More than 112,000 Mississippians have requested absentee ballots leading up to today's election. It's a significant increase from just a week ago, when Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann reported just over 71,000 ballots were requested.
"We have seen a surge in absentee voters in the last week. A strong surge in people paying attention to the presidential election. Some of that comes every year anyway. But this puts us much more in line with the Romney-Obama race four years ago," said Hosemann.
Four years ago, more than 106-thousand Mississippians requested absentee ballots. This year, over ten percent of registered voters in at least six counties, including Benton, Claiborne and Noxubee, have requested absentee ballots. Hosemann says usually, the higher the number of absentee ballots requested, the greater the voter turnout on election day. In 2012, 1.1 million Mississippians went to the polls. So, what does Hosemann think caused the last minute spike in absentee ballot requests?
"Twenty-four hour a day, seven days a week news, which seems to break on one candidate or the other just about every hour has obviously focused some of it," said Hosemann.
Yesterday was the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots. Secretary Hosemann says the absentee ballots are posted in the more than 1,800 polling places across the state. Also a number of organizations have hotlines for voter complaints like the secretary of state's office, the League of Women Voters, the ACLU and the FBI.