Be it on the national, state or local front and the story is the same, upcoming voter turnout is expected to be close to, if not the highest in history!
"In fact, I'm expecting a record turn out for Mississippi," says Secretary of State Eric Clark. "I think for the first time ever we'll have more than a million people vote on November 2nd."
To promote the vote, Secretary of State Eric Clark was in Meridian Monday. He says voter registration in Mississippi is up substantially. In fact, this year in Lauderdale County alone there are more than 2,000 newly registered voters.
Although presidential elections generally bring about higher voter turnout, the question now is why so much interest this year?
"Let me emphasize," says Clark, "that there are numerous important issues and candidates on the ballot this year."
Aside from voting for the next president and vice-president, many voters will also cast ballots for members of Congress, state supreme court justices, election commissioners and school board members as well as a hotly contested state amendment that would outlaw gay marriages in Mississippi.
Following the controversy in Florida during the 2000 presidential election, Clark says great lengths are being taken to prevent voter fraud. However, he says many of the safeguards will not be in place in time for the upcoming election.
"Congress two years ago passed what's called the 'Help America Vote Action,' 'HAVA.' The two big pieces of that are to clean up the voter rolls and the second part of it is to buy new voting machines in counties that have old outdated voting machines. That won't be in place until January 1, 2006."
Meanwhile, Clark says all early indications show that upcoming elections in Mississippi should go smoothly. General elections will be held nationwide on Tuesday, November 2.