Voter Turnout

Perhaps this best tells the story, a line of people waiting to vote at the Jaycees Building in Meridian. Shortly after polls opened at 7 a.m. there was a line outside the door. Although things died down just a bit as the day went on, election officials say turnout was heavy throughout the day at all precincts.

"We have had 55 to 56 percent in several elections and also 66 percent in some but I think this is going to be just a lot more than that. You know it could be 75 percent or if we're lucky even more than that," says Ann Watts with the Lauderdale County Election Commission.

Officials with the local Democratic Party agree. Throughout the day the party provided free rides to the polls.

"Now, they've not been standing in line but considering that we have five buses, plus the cars I would say that we've picked up a good number of people," says Melba Clark with the Lauderdale County Executive Committee.

From those we encountered, there seemed to be a somewhat unusual excitement and urgency about voting.

"Definitely, my husband was up at the crack of dawn this morning," says Gaylette Shipman. "He was drinking coffee and going to vote."

"I wouldn't miss this election for the world. You'd had to hold a gun to my head to keep me from voting this time," says voter Jim Fowler.

"I think this election is real import and especially for the people in the Army," says first time voter Patrick Ransom. "That's who I'm really voting for, the people in the Army."

"I came home from college just to vote," says Rust College freshman, K'tecia Evans. "I think it's important to vote because a lot of things in our community need to be changed and you can't say anything if you don't vote, so why not vote and make a difference?"

The question now is how much of a difference that the heavy turnout will make in the outcome.