Turnout strong in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Officials reported mid-afternoon that turnout was brisk across Mississippi on election day, on pace to exceed typical past levels for a federal midterm.

Leah Rupp Smith, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, says more than 20 percent of registered voters have already cast ballots at many locations at mid-afternoon Tuesday.

Smith says that's on pace to surpass the third of Mississippi voters who cast ballots during the 2014 federal midterm election.

Polls are open till 7 p.m.

Officials got nearly 70,000 requests for absentee ballots, more than double the 25,000 in 2014, but still far below the 112,000 requested during the 2016 presidential election.

Smith says voting has mostly gone smoothly, although there were some problems with poll books as polls opened in Jackson County on the Gulf Coast. She said polls in northeast Mississippi opened on time despite heavy storms overnight that caused damage in Tupelo and elsewhere.

Hosemann complained during a mid-morning news conference about police in Jackson conducting roadblocks. Jackson police said in a tweet that they had only conducted one such checkpoint to crack down on speeders and unsafe driving. Chief James Davis says in a statement that police stopped running them so as not to "prohibit voters from going to the polls."