Election eve called "absolute insanity" by voting official

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Roger Wicker and Ronnie Musgrove both made brief appearances in south Mississippi on Monday to thank their volunteers for all they've done promoting their campaigns. They know that a record number of absentee ballots have already been cast. That's why precinct managers are preparing for a very long day at the polls, and election commissioners say they're swept up in a scene that seems a lot like "absolute insanity."

Dan Romano showed up at the Harrison County Election Commission headquarters to pick up his West Handsboro precinct supplies for Tuesday's election.

"We're prepared. We've been trained. And we're ready to go," the precinct manager said.

Tuesday's election is now in the hands of the men and women managing 66 Harrison County voting precincts, people like Geraldine Necaise.

"I'm not nervous. I've been doing it for 30 years," she said.

Poll workers know just how important their roles are in the voting process.

"Sure I'm nervous," Biloxi precinct manager James Pollard said, "because I'm thinking that all kinds of people are going to come in there."

Throughout the morning, Harrison County poll workers picked up ballots and voting equipment. They were all told that based on absentee voting, Tuesday's turnout should be brisk. Yvonne King will run a north Gulfport precinct.

"Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, a very, very busy day," she said.

Pollard felt the same way.

"I expect a long, busy day," he thought.

Considering that his precinct often has very few votes cast, he was excited about being busy. So was Geraldine Necaise.

"It's going to be crowded. It's going to be interesting," she said.

Harrison County election commissioners printed 110,000 ballots, ten percent more than they'll need if every registered voter shows up. And they ordered 500 voting booths. They're hoping those pre-election precautions cut down on voting day complaints.

Toni Jo Diaz is a Harrison County election commissioner.

"We're going to have a few problems, which we always do in every election. But it's nothing we can't handle," she said.

You'll have a choice at Harrison County precincts of using either paper ballots, or a touch screen computer. Don't forget, lines are expected at most polling places. So you're urged to be patient.