JACKSON, MS – Significantly fewer Mississippi voters have cast absentee ballots for the upcoming 2012 General Election on November 6 than did for the 2008 Presidential Election.
As of noon today, 28,593 Mississippians have returned absentee ballots to their local Circuit Clerk’s office. That number represents 1.5% of registered voters eligible to cast ballots in the General Election.
The deadline for absentee balloting in person at the clerk’s office is 12 noon on Saturday, Nov. 3. Ballots returned by mail must be received in the Circuit Clerk’s office by 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5. Military absentee ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day.
In the 2008 General Election, absentee ballots were cast by 88,398 Mississippians – or 9.9% of the total voter turnout of 1,289,865. In the 2011 General Election, 47,580 Mississippians cast absentee ballots – or 7.2% of the total 868,534 votes.
“Absentee voting is typically a pretty good indicator of voter turnout on Election Day,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “The latest absentee ballot totals generated from the Statewide Election Management System show Mississippians are turning out to vote but not in numbers comparable to the previous presidential election cycle.”
Almost 68 percent of the absentee ballots requested to be sent to Mississippi voters by mail have already been returned and processed in their local Circuit Clerk offices. The total number of absentee ballots mailed to registered voters for the Nov. 6 election is 42,086.
Mississippi counties reporting the highest percentage of absentee voting to-date are: Quitman (3.82% of registered voters), Greene (3.54% of registered voters), Calhoun (3.28% of registered voters) and Benton (3.23 % of registered voters.)
According to State law, the following categories of registered voters are eligible to cast an absentee ballot:
· Members of the Armed Forces or their spouses and/or dependents;
· Members of the Merchant Marines or the American Red Cross, or their spouses and/or dependents;
· Disabled war veterans who are patients in any hospital, or their spouses and/or dependents;
· Civilians attached to any branch of the Armed Forces, the Merchant Marines, or the American Red Cross and serving outside of the United State, or their spouses and/or dependents;
· Persons temporarily residing outside the territorial limits of the United States and the District of Columbia;
· Students, teachers, or administrators whose employment or studies necessitate their absence from their county of voting residence, or their dependent or spouse who maintains a common domicile outside the county of voting residence;
· Persons who will be outside of their county of residence on election day;
· Persons required to be at work on election day during the times at which the polls will be open;
· Persons temporarily or permanently physically disabled;
· Persons sixty-five (65) years of age or older;
· Parents, spouses or dependents of persons having a temporary or permanent physical disability who are hospitalized outside their county of residence or more than fifty (50) miles away from their residence if the parents, spouses, and/or dependents will be with such persons on election day;
· Members of the Mississippi Congressional delegation, or their spouses and/or dependents.