Voter turnout in Mississippi ranks near the bottom compared to other states. While some voters may be casting a ballot in tomorrow's municipal general elections, experts are concerned the trend will continue.
On Tuesday, 191 municipal general elections are happening statewide and some local leaders are concerned. Although Mississippi voted in record numbers during the 2020 election, the state ranked 48 in voter turnout. It's a trend experts say is seen in the state's odd-year elections as well.
"We're seeing fewer and fewer people participate in the voting process. And, you have decisions on the leadership made by a small number of people," said Billy Hewes, mayor of Gulfport and president of the Mississippi Municipal League.
"And, some might argue it comes out in the wash and the numbers will bare out... it's just law of average and numbers but it doesn't change the fact that we've got to find ways to get our citizens engaged and involved."
In addition to even-year elections when we select our president and members of congress, Mississippi is one of 5 states with odd-year elections as well. Some experts believe that contributes to voter confusion and fatigue resulting in low turnout.
Marvin King is an associate professor of political science at the University of Mississippi.
"People often get through one election cycle and be like 'okay great... I voted,' not realizing that there's something seven months later," said King.
"The fatigue is for people who do want to vote in every election. Sometimes they just get tired and it's hard to keep up with all of the different races and having elections in June at the start of summer... it's almost like it was designed to not have many people participate."
King says voting in municipal elections influences day-to-day things such as who's on your school board, local infrastructure and civic amenities.