MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Saturday marked the final day for in-person absentee voting in Mississippi.
Over the last few days, circuit clerk offices across the state have seen long lines of voters waiting to cast their absentee ballots.
In DeSoto County, voters like Don Newton said they wanted to avoid an even longer line on Election Day.
“That’s what we’re here doing early voting because we figure it’s going to be packed on Election Day,” Newton said.
More than 190,000 absentee ballots have been requested, according to Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson. That’s 80,000 more than the number requested in 2016.
“I’m excited about that. I think it’s important that Mississippians are turning out,” Watson said. “I think it’s a combination of things. But again, we’ve prepared. We’ve made sure Mississippians' voices will be heard.”
Their voices matter a lot this year.
Not only is there a presidential election, which many call the most important in generations, there’s also a competitive U.S. Senate race.
The Senate race is a rematch from 2018 between the Republican incumbent, Cindy Hyde-Smith, and her Democratic challenger, former U.S. Agriculture Secretary and Congressman, Mike Espy.
Watson says Mississippi voters who couldn’t cast their absentee ballots in person can still mail them, but they must be postmarked by Nov. 3 and must be received within five business days to be counted.
Mississippi has expanded curbside voting, as an option for people with symptoms of COVID-19.
The state is also letting people correct minor discrepancies with signatures on their absentee ballots.
Those changes were made after voting-rights groups sued the state in federal court.