Tuesday’s mid-term elections big for nation, state and local races

Published 5:07 pm Saturday, November 3, 2018

While Tuesday is expected to be one of the biggest mid-term elections in recent memory for Mississippi, it is also a big day for local contested races. Eleven races are on the ballot for the general election involving circuit and county judicial posts, Central District constable, Vicksburg-Warren County School District Board of Trustees, a special election for state House District 85, both U.S. Senate seats, and the 2nd Congressional District.

Three candidates, Circuit Judge M. James Chaney, Chancery Judge Vicki Roach Barnes and school district Trustee Alonzo Stevens are unopposed.

The Warren County Circuit Clerk’s office has been busy with a number of people casting absentee ballots, but they’ve also been busy preparing for the general election. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

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Circuit Clerk Jan Hyland Daigre said absentee voting has been “very brisk” over the last couple of weeks. As of Friday morning, more than 900 people had cast absentee ballots, which ended Saturday.

“During the recent presidential election, we had 1,500 people vote absentee,” Daigre said. “So I expect Tuesday to be very brisk at the polls as well.”

With both Mississippi U.S. Senate races on the ballot — something rarely seen — and Republicans holding a slim majority in the U.S. Senate, interest in the mid-term election has taken center stage.

Besides Republican incumbent Roger Wicker battling to hold his senate seat against Democratic challenger David Baria, a state representative from Bay St. Louis, a special election to fill the final two years of longtime Republican senator Thad Cochran is also on the ballot.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed former state agriculture commissioner Cindy Hyde-Smith to the U.S. Senate following Cochran’s retirement in April.

Sen. Hyde-Smith is facing challenges from Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel, as well as Democrats Mike Espy and Tobey Bernard Bartee.

If nobody wins a majority in the four-person race Tuesday, the two leaders will compete in a Nov. 27 runoff.

Daigre admits the U.S. Senate races are a big draw, but also said the local races have driven up interest in the election.

“I think there’s a lot of interest in the local judge races and that is what is driving up a lot of our (absentee voting) numbers,” Daigre said. “We’re just thrilled people are getting out to vote.”

Daigre said her office and people involved in the election have been busy for the last two months preparing for the election, as well as testing the voting machines — which will be placed in the precincts Monday.

“Our election commissioners and everyone have done a tremendous job,” Daigre said.

Unofficial results from Tuesday’s election will also be posted on the Warren County website, co.warren.ms.us, as the precincts report in.

“They will be unofficial and not include absentee ballots, but it will give people quick feedback,” Daigre said.

Daigre also said there are a few things people need to keep in mind before casting a ballot Tuesday.

“Make sure to bring a photo ID, usually a drivers license, but it must be a picture ID,” Daigre said. “And also there have been some changes in polling locations. Make sure you go to the right polling place.”

Daigre said a polling locator is on the Secretary of State website, yallvote.com.

“It’s very easy to use,” Daigre said.

“Just type in your address and it will give you the location of the precinct.”

Daigre also said voters are also welcome to call her office, 601-636-3961, for questions.

“We will be here from 7 a.m. until the polls close Tuesday,” Daigre said.