TUPELO • A complete tally of the votes cast in Lee County’s Nov. 3 general election show increased turnout over the last presidential election.
All Mississippi counties were required to certify their election results to Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson by Friday. This is part of a process that begins on Election Day when voters cast their ballots, continues for some days as all ballots are counted and tallied, and ultimately ends with the certification of a statewide vote count.
The office of Lee County Circuit Clerk Camille Roberts Dulaney on Monday provided the Daily Journal with the county’s final certified count.
On Election Day two weeks ago, just over 70% of registered voters in Lee County cast a ballot. As of Nov. 3, there were 52,391 registered voters in the county, and 37,181 cast a ballot during the general election.
Almost all of those voters made a selection within the race for president, with a total of 37,013 of those voters casting a presidential ballot.
In 2016, 32,913 Lee County voters cast a presidential ballot, so a little more than 4,000 additional presidential ballots were cast in Lee County in 2020 in comparison to 2016.
President Donald Trump carried Lee County in both 2016 and 2020. In 2016, then-nominee Trump had about 12,000 more votes than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Increased 2020 turnout saw both Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden garner additional voters, and Trump did not increase his margin of victory in Lee County. He defeated Biden in Lee County by about 12,000 votes.
The Tupelo 1 precinct had the highest turnout in the county, with 88% of registered voters showing at the polls, though there are only 629 registered voters at that precinct. Some very populous precincts also had high turnouts. Bissell – with 5,466 registered voters – had a turnout rate of 76%. Belden – with 2,410 registered voters – also had a turnout rate of 76%.
Even with counties now reporting their vote totals – including valid absentees and verified provisional ballots – the statewide process is not quite done yet. The Secretary of State has until Dec. 4 to formally declare the results of the state’s elections. Watson must sign a certificate of vote for president, and Gov. Tate Reeves signs a certificate of ascertainment, which Watson will witness.
Watson recently explained the certification process on his Twitter account, noting that the legislature plays no role in the certification process and that the state will file the necessary records with the Federal Archivist.