Voter turnout in South Mississippi this election Tuesday is as unpredictable as the presidential primary campaign has been thus far. (Photo source: WLOX)
Harrison County voters in District 1 had no trouble making the slight detour to the multipurpose building instead of the civic center. (Photo source: WLOX)
In North Gulfport, turnout was light by midday at the Good Deeds Community Center. (Photo source: WLOX)
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) -
Harrison County Circuit Clerk Connie Ladner said voter turnout on Tuesday ran about 24 percent, which is higher than the 20 percent turnout four years ago. At the half dozen precincts we visited, turnout was somewhat sporadic, with several poll workers saying they expected a larger number of voters.
The heaviest turnout by far we found in D'Iberville. You'll recall, this is the place where voters needed to make a slight detour, from the civic center where they normally vote, to the multi-purpose building next door. It appears that change, was not an issue.
"Pretty steady. Going good. We've had a good turnout today. It's a nice day, too, to come out and vote," said poll worker, Kimberly Bond.
As for the slight change in location, "I've heard some people say they kind of like this better. I like that better, but this is okay. It's working," said Bond.
"I've been working the polls for 12 years," said Wilbur Ball, who works the polls in North Gulfport.
And Ball has seen the ups and downs of voter turnout over those dozens years. Tuesday, turnout was light at the Good Deeds Community Center.
"Probably about 90 some votes so far. Where we had anticipated more. But you just have to take it as it comes," he said, smiling.
Of that mid-morning total, just six of the votes were Republican in that heavily Democratic precinct.
At Bayou View Elementary School in Gulfport, turnout was sporadic. When we arrived, there were very few voters in the precinct. By the time we left, there was a line. And that's how it's been much of the day.
Bayou View is primarily GOP country. And given all the national attention and Republican debates, the poll manager was surprised at the turnout.
"Expecting that our turnout would have been considerably more than it has been, from the national news and that. But it just hasn't appeared here yet," said poll manager Joe Davidson.
In all, 23,378 GOP votes were cast in Harrison County, compared to 17,617 in 2012. Donald Trump captured 51 percent of the vote, followed by Ted Cruz with 32 percent, John Kasich with 10 percent and Marco Rubio with just six percent.
In Hancock County, voter turnout was reported to be moderate. By mid-afternoon at the American Legion Post 139 Precinct in Bay St. Louis, 250 people had voted on the Republican ballot. On the Democratic side, the tally was only about 50.
Voter turnout was reported heaviest in the Diamondhead community where leaders say a majority of registered voters who live there will cast ballots for the Republican ticket.
Hancock County Circuit Clerk Karen Ruhr reported no major problems at any of the polling places around the county Tuesday afternoon.
Trump dominated with 57 percent of the GOP vote in Hancock County, followed by Cruz with 28 percent. Neither Kasich nor Rubio broke into double digit percentages in Hancock County.
Trump also won big in Jackson County, taking 49 percent of the GOP vote. Cruz was the only other candidate to make it into double digit percentages in Jackson County with 35 percent of the vote.