Officials: Absentee voting slow for special election

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Now that the New Year's ball has dropped and Christmas trees are coming down, Harrison County election officials hope people will again have voting on their minds. In 10 days a special election will determine who the new representative will be for Mississippi House District 116.

Voting officials say they hope the slow start to absentee voting is not a sign of what's to come on election day. In fact, officials say since absentee voting began for House District 116 very few people have cast ballots.

"I think there's probably been low turnout because falling with the holidays and people are probably distracted with that,"said Jill Moran, Harrison County Deputy Circuit Clerk. "Busy with their holiday plans and traveling. So maybe this week some people will come in and vote and cast their ballot early."

On January 11th, more than 12,000 registered voters living in parts of Biloxi and D'Iberville will be able to choose among eight candidates. Officials say because of the way district lines are drawn, some precincts are split.  This means not everyone in the precinct will be eligible to vote in the race.

"They can call us and we can let them know which precinct they're in, which spilt they're in," said Moran.

Whoever wins the special election will have to run again in November to retain the seat. As of January 1st, anyone who wants to run for state house or state senate in November can go by their Circuit Clerk's office and pick up a qualification packet.

"We have the forms here in the office. Just come out here and fill out the form," Moran said. There is a $15 fee that goes to the party. So they just fill that out and that's all they need to do."

Voters can cast absentee ballots at the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's office this week. The offices will be open Tuesday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm and on Saturday from 8 am to noon.

The governor called a special election after Steven Palazzo won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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