In this year’s elections, Mississippians showed up. Election Day and absentee voters alike faced long lines, but persisted and made their voices heard. It’s apparent that Mississippians were engaged with this year’s ballot.
The presidential election is obviously one reason for this, but three important measures were also on the ballot. With an overwhelming majority, medical marijuana, a new state flag and simplifying statewide office elections were all passed.
The margin of victory for each initiative was impressive, with over 71% of the vote going for the new state flag. Equally impressive is the engagement on Initiative 65. This was a difficult measure to understand, but the decisive vote makes it clear that voters were educated on the issue as well as on the two-step process required to vote on the initiative.
We still await final, certified results for Mississippi’s elections, but it’s clear that the state’s total turnout will exceed the 2016 presidential election. In Lee County, we’re uncertain of the final turnout and await the complete count of all absentee ballots that might still be received. As reported by Daily Journal reporter Caleb Bedillion last week, counties across Mississippi saw a surge in absentee votes this year because of concerns about the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus and the possibility of large crowds at polling stations.
Whatever the final number, Lee County saw strong turnout and local election officials reported few problems, even amid the additional stresses on the system this year.
An engaged citizenry and efficient election management – regardless of how you voted, this election was a win for the state.