TUPELO • An extended election season will come to a close today when voters go to the polls to decide the fate of a U.S. Senate seat and a number of judicial posts.
Polls across the state will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. as voters will settle a number of runoffs from the Nov. 6 general election. All registered voters are eligible to participate, even if they did not cast a ballot earlier this month.
Many did vote on Nov. 6, however, and state and local officials are predicting a similar high turnout today.
Lee County Circuit Clerk Camille Roberts Dulaney said absentee voting was “extremely high,” even though people only had about a six-day window to do so. She said her office is taking steps to prepare for the anticipated high volume today.
“We are sending out all of our machines, and we’re going to get extra poll books,” Dulaney said. “You don’t normally see this kind of turnout in midterm elections. I wish every election could be this way.”
Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann reported on Saturday that more than 43,000 absentee ballots had been requested for the runoff. That’s nearly as high as the 50,571 ballots requested for the Nov. 6 election. That election saw more than 850,000 Mississippians vote, a record for a midterm election.
The most high profile race on the ballot today is the U.S. Senate showdown between Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy that has attracted national attention. The winner replaces longtime Sen. Thad Cochran, who stepped down in April, and will fill the final two years of his term. Hyde-Smith was appointed by Gov. Phi Bryant to fill the seat until the election.
Both candidates received about 41 percent of the total vote in the general election, with Hyde-Smith getting the most votes.
Voters will also settle a number of judicial races. Those include:
• Staci Shumpert Bevill and Tommy McElroy for the post one judicial seat in Lee County Court.
• Kelly Mims and Sadie Gardner for First District Circuit Court Judge.
•Brad Tennison and Lisa Ann Koon for First Chancery District Judge.
• In Chancery Court District 14, there are two runoffs on the ballot. Rodney Faver and Lee Ann Turner are competing for the post one seat, and Carrie Jourdan and Joe Studdard will face each other in post two.
Picture identification is required to cast a ballot in Mississippi. Acceptable forms of ID include a driver’s license or state ID card; a U.S. passport; student ID issued by an accredited university, college or community college within the state; and some other forms of ID.
Voters can also confirm their precinct location at the Secretary of State’s website, sos.ms.gov/vote.
Once the polls close tonight, follow DJournal.com for live results and updates.