Jackson County Circuit Clerk Joe Martin declared this week that Tuesday’s election will go down in history for voter turnout based on the number of absentee ballots his office has processed – 2,500 so far. A record.
And in Gulfport and Biloxi, Gayle Parker’s clerks have taken in twice that many.
It has been so hectic at the circuit clerk’s office in those two cities that Parker’s clerks have created a line just for absentee voters and have had to work late for the past two weeks catching up.
Absentee voting isn’t the same as the early voting that’s done in other states. Mississippi doesn’t allow standard early voting. Absentee voting means voters won’t be available to vote on Tuesday for whatever reason – and the reasons are clearly outlined in the law – so they fill out an application at the circuit clerk’s office, swear their reasons are true and marks their ballot ahead of time.
Absentee ballots are sealed and counted with the rest of the ballots on Tuesday at the voting precincts.
In all three Coast counties, a voter can go to the circuit clerk’s office and vote absentee today and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
A person may vote absentee if over 65, going to be out of town, in the military, a disabled war veteran, a patient in a hospital, temporarily living outside the United States, a student who will be away at school, disabled, a member of Congress or someone who is required to be at work all day.