Voter Turnout Heavy In Early Voting

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Voters lined up by the hundreds outside polling places well before the start of voting Tuesday in what was shaping up to be a one of the largest general election turnouts ever in Mississippi.

Drawing voters to the polls early were the hotly contested presidential race and elections for key congressional posts.

At the Flowood Library just northeast of Jackson, lines of voters, in some places two or three people deep, backed up for 100 yards.

Elsewhere in traditionally Republican Rankin County, motorists maneuvering to enter the parking area of a National Guard armory in Brandon temporarily blocked morning traffic.

Mississippi has voted Republican in presidential races since 1980 and nominee John McCain was expected to keep the state's six electoral votes in the GOP folder.

In Alabama, polling places also opened to long lines on election day, and the state appears on its way to setting a record turnout.

Secretary of State Beth Chapman is forecasting a turnout of 79 percent to 81 percent. If she's correct, that will break the old record of 76 percent set in the 1992 presidential election.

The election momentum began building in February with a record turnout of 40 percent for Alabama's presidential primary. Then Alabama set a voter registration record with more than 3 million names.

Counties are also reporting record absentee balloting. For instance, Lee County Circuit Clerk Corinne Hurst said her east Alabama county had 2,100 absentee ballots four years ago. This time she's looking at 3,200.

Chapman said there were no early reports of problems at the polls, despite the long lines. The polls close at 7 p.m.

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