Lines are shorter, but afternoon voting is still brisk

By Brad Kessie - bio | email

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent in the presidential election. Twenty five million dollars was pumped into the Roger Wicker, Ronnie Musgrove senate race. We're about to find out who made the best investments.

This is election day. And as everybody predicted, long lines of voters showed up at south Mississippi polling places. Tuesday morning, more than 100 people stood outside the Harrison County Skate Park complex, waiting for the polls to open for a chance to vote. That was the case at precincts all over the coast.

On Espy Avenue, two cities, with a total of five voting precincts, shared one facility. At times, things got a bit confusing. That was why Karen Jernigan greeted every voter near the front door.

"This is what I was meant to do today," Jernigan said.

By lunchtime, more than 2,000 Pass Christian and Long Beach neighbors had filled out their presidential ballots. That was roughly a third of all registered voters in west Harrison County.

"I expected a lot of people. And I expect a whole lot more," said Jernigan.

On Pass Road in Biloxi, John Hanna said, "I've never seen a crowd like this before."

A lengthy line greeted him, and the 200 other early voters at the Donal Snyder Community Center.

Poll workers did everything they could to move the enormous crowd through the line, and into voting booths as quickly as possible.

"We usually have a good turnout," precinct manager Kay Broussard said. "But this is overwhelming."

Hanna and his wife were stuck in the middle of the line. It extended from the voting area into the Snyder center's gymnasium.

"I'd say there's about three times the number of people that we normally encounter during voting time. Or more than that," Hanna thought.

This historic election energized the north Gulfport community. Both the Good Deeds Community Center and the Isiah Fredericks voting precinct were buzzing with eager voters.

Laken Wraggs had his daughter right next to him when he voted for president, "because today is a very important day for everybody," he said. "And I just wanted her to be part of this change."