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Saturday is last day of absentee voting

The Lincoln County Circuit Clerk’s office is open Saturday morning for in-person absentee voting for the 2018 runoff election.

The office, located on the second floor of the Lincoln County-Brookhaven Government Complex, will be open from 8 a.m. to noon.

Polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Lincoln Countians can cast a ballot for candidates in the U.S. Senate special election runoff and Court of Appeals general election runoff.

Any voter in line at 7 p.m. is entitled to cast a ballot.

Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield is expecting a high turnout for the runoff. Based on the number of absentee votes already received since the general election, Bairfield thinks at least a quarter of the 22,600 registered voters in Lincoln County will cast a vote in one or both of the runoffs on the ballot. Voters will choose between Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Lawrence County native who lives on a farm in Lincoln County with her husband, Michael Smith, and Democrat Mike Espy in the special election runoff for U.S. Senate.

Also on the ballot are David McCarty and Jeff Weill Sr. in the general election runoff for Court of Appeals District 4 Position 2.

“We’re already close to 600 for absentee votes,” Bairfield said.

That’s after only two and one-half weeks of early voting.

“That’s pretty good,” he said. “We had about 1,050 absentee ballots for general and that was 45 days of absentee voting.”

With over 1,000 absentee votes cast absentee for the election, Bairfield said polls reported 55 percent turnout with some as high as 70 percent.

“Absentees reflected we were going to have a high turnout then,” he said.

With the race tight between Hyde-Smith and Espy, a former Clinton administration cabinet member, voters are likely to make the trip to the polls to cast a mark for their choice for the U.S. Senate seat, Bairfield said. Only one percentage point separated the candidates then.

In the Nov. 6 election Hyde-Smith received 345,248 votes, good for 41.5 percent of the total, while Espy grabbed 337,045 votes, good for 40.5 percent. Republican Chris McDaniel and Democrat Tobey Bartee scored the remaining votes.

The margin was more in her favor in Lincoln County as the former state agricultural commissioner took 62.32 percent of the vote to Espy’s 28.52 percent. McDaniel and Bartee took less than 10 percent of the vote in Lincoln County.

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann urged voters to return to the polls for the runoff election.

“We had a great turnout on Election Day and we are hoping to see a repeat on Nov. 27,” he said.  “The only way for your vote not to count is if you do not cast it.”

Other important information for Runoff Election Day includes:

• Voter Photo ID: Voters are required to show photo identification at the polls. A voter without an acceptable form of photo identification is entitled to cast an affidavit ballot. An affidavit ballot may be counted if the voter provides an acceptable form of photo identification to the Circuit Clerk’s Office within five business days after the election. For more information, visit www.msvoterID.ms.gov.

• Campaigning: It is unlawful to campaign for any candidate on the ballot within 150 feet of any entrance to a polling place, unless on private property.

• Loitering: The polling places should be clear for 30 feet from every entrance of all people except elections officials, voters waiting to vote, or authorized poll watchers.