Election officials: Statewide races pique voter interest

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - If the number of Harrison County residents who've registered to vote lately is any indication, election officials say they expect a higher voter turnout on August 2nd than in past elections. Saturday was the deadline to register to vote for the primaries.

Martha Williams's visit to the Harrison County Circuit Clerk's office was not for herself. After 40 years on the voter rolls, she said she wanted to convince others to make their voices heard, so she started registering voters.

"We've been going door to door, and we've been handing out pamphlets and leaving them in businesses wherever people will allow us leave them," said Gulfport resident Martha Williams. "I'm just glad to be a part of this election, and I hope more people will come out and vote."

The Harrison County Circuit Clerk staff said usually only 25 percent of the county's 90,000 registered voters show up on election day; however, with the way voter registration has been going lately, officials say it may be more crowded at the polls next month.

Jill Moran is the Deputy Circuit Clerk.

Moran said, "I think any time you have state races, you have Governor this year, Secretary of State, Lieutenant Governor, House and Senate Representatives. I think it brings in a lot more voters for that."

With so many important seats up for grabs, election officials say it's nice to see more voters becoming part of the process as soon as they can.

"We have seen a huge increase in a lot of younger voters that are coming in to register to vote and first time voters who are just turning 18," said Moran. "That's very exciting. It's great to see the younger generation, and the youth get excited about coming in here to vote and realizing the importance of this."

Now if you're going to be out of town on August 2nd, you should know the deadline for absentee voting in the primaries is July 30th which is a Saturday. Mississippi's Circuit Clerk offices will be open that day from 8 a.m. to noon. Until then, you can vote absentee Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. as well as Saturday July 23rd from 8 a.m. to noon.

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