Turnout heavy but few problems reported

Published 2:28 pm Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Despite possibly the heaviest voter turnout in many years, initial reports from poll workers are that there were few glitches in Tuesday’s balloting.

Karla Lee and Shana Neff, poll workers at the Derby 1 precinct who delivered the ballots to the Pearl River County Courthouse, said everything went well at their location.

Both also said the 66 percent turnout for that precinct was huge in comparison to other elections, a percentage that seemed to remain steady as more boxes arrived.

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Lee said people started showing up early, not long after 5 a.m., so that by the time the polls opened at 7 a.m. it was impossible to get into the parking lot. Once the initial surge was over she said turnout remained steady throughout the day.

The unofficial count in that Derby box for president showed John McCain with 357 and Barack Obama with 85. In the race for the Senate seat between Ronnie Musgrove and Roger Wicker, Wicker had 277 to Musgrove’s 145.

Election Commissioner Margaret Woodson that said despite the heavy turnout in the county, there appeared to be few problems and, although there were some lines at some of the Picayune and Poplarville polling sites, waiting times were not long. She said some of the initial crowding could have been attributed to former Louisiana residents being used to 6 a.m. opening times at polling places instead of 7 a.m.

Aprel Purvis and Shirley Southerland with the Hickory Grove 3 precinct said turnout was initially heavy and then leveled out. They were particularly impressed with one voter who had been released from the hospital and insisted on stopping to vote before going home.

They said of the 162 registered voters, 122 showed up at the polls to vote.