Taylor-Palazzo battle draws large voter turnout

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – The lines began forming even before the polls opened in Harrison County.  Throughout the day, the voters kept coming.  By mid-morning Tuesday, more than 600 voters had cast their ballots at the Margaret Sherry Library in Biloxi.

"It has been very heavy here. We had a great turn out," said Poll Manager Wendy Snyder. "This reminds me of a presidential year type election, because that's when we have our heaviest turnout."

While most people said they go to the polls every election, this time, they were interested in a few races in particular.

"A couple of the judges and, of course, the congressmen," said Andy Kennedy of Biloxi.

"I think the congressmen's race is mainly, so don't ask me who I voted for," said Sarah Cvitanovich of Biloxi.

Election officials pointed to the hotly-contested battle between incumbent Gene Taylor and his challenger Steven Palazzo for the heavy turnout Tuesday.  The races for Harrison County Court Judge and Chancery Court Judge also generated a lot of interest.

Election Day came with its share of glitches. The scanner at the library location wouldn't accept the ballots.

"Our machine, I'm calling to get fixed," Snyder explained to a group of voters who were waiting to feed their ballots.

"A technician is on the way and we'll get that up and running," she said. "We have an emergency bin and this is what they train us for when these situations happen."

The scanner at Klein Road Church of God in Gulfport also jammed a couple of times.  The machine had to be replaced. But it didn't slow down the voting process.  By mid-day, nearly 500 people had cast their ballots there.

"I'm happy for everybody coming out to vote. I think everybody should vote," one young man commented.

"It's a good thing. I see a lot of young people and I see people that have gone to school with my daughter, so that excites me," said Dorothy Cooper of Gulfport.

"We need to keep people we have in office and I guess some of them need to be changed," said Kennedy. "But the way to do it is vote."

The circuit clerk's office reported a few other minor problems Tuesday. For instance, at the South Bel-Aire location, there weren't enough ballots in the supply bin for the school board race.  So some voters had to use the touch-screen machines until more ballots were delivered. And a folded ballot caused the scanner at Pineville Elementary School to jam. The machine had to be re-set.

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