Heavy voter turnout expected in DeSoto County

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - Voter turnout is expected to be huge in Novembers upcoming presidential election, and DeSoto County, Mississippi is no exception.

A few weeks ago, we showed you the crowd at the Circuit Clerk's office in Hernando, as residents of DeSoto County were registering to vote. Now, employees are making sure the voting machines are in good working order as they prepare for a large crowd.

"We are actually up around 84,500 (registrations)," Circuit Court Clerk Dale Thompson said Thursday.  "We have stopped entering registrations for this elections."

Unlike Shelby County, which uses touch screens, DeSoto County uses a scan ballot method. People fill out the ballots by hand, which is then fed into a scanner that tabulates the vote.

"It takes a matter of seconds to just run it into the machine and it's counted automatically there," Thompson said. "We use optical scan M-100s. The ballot actually goes into the ballot box, and they are taken out at the end of the night."

Thompson said DeSoto County will have 38 voting precincts and 45 machines, with suitable back-ups in case of any problems. With over 16,000 new voters, and an expected turnout approaching 85 percent, Thompson says DeSoto County is prepared.

"It's exciting, but we sure will be glad when its over," she said.