New Voting Machines Give Jackson County Little Trouble

Election day was also a record setting day in Mississippi. Of the 1.8 million registered voters in our state, more than one million Mississippians excercised their right to vote.

As for South Mississippi, voter turnout was 68 percent in Harrison County, 60 percent in Hancock County and 63 percent in Jackson County.

In fact, more than 49,000 Jackson County voters turned out for the election - the biggest in county history.

After being re-elected Tuesday night, Election Commissioner Joe Barlow knows he'll work at least one more presidential election. What he doesn't know is if he'll see another with such a large turnout.

"Over 49,000 people voted, out of 77,000 active voters. So this gives us well over 60 percent," Barlow said.

Election commissioners were ready for the large turnout and ready for some problems with new voting machines in use. Call it planning or beginners luck, but it turns out trouble turned up with only three of the machines.

"One of the machines was not plugged in properly and the battery went down and another machine the poll worker inserted the key in the wrong place."

A ballot got stuck in the third.

"The universal theme was, 'I love these machines.' You put one in and if a ballot's spoiled, it returns it to you."

Circuit Clerk Joe Martin agrees with Barlow.

"The new machines are great. I think they're much faster and more efficient."

Martin says even the faster machines couldn't eliminate long waits at some precints. The enormous turnout, especially in the final hours of voting, some people had to wait long into the night to cast their ballots.

"This presidential election race has sparked an interest we may not have seen in years past and I think once people go to vote they will continue to vote," Barlow said.

Jackson County election officials say between now and the next election, they'll look at hiring more poll workers to help handle every voter who shows up.