5 election day things to know today in Mississippi

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Here’s a look at five things to watch on election day in Mississippi:

1.A CROWDED BALLOT FOR PRESIDENT

While incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney get most of the attention, there are four other parties with presidential candidates on the ballot. They include the Green Party (Jill Stein), Libertarian (Gary Johnson), Constitution (Virgil Goode) and Reform (Barbara Dale Washer). Mississippi has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, when Democrat incumbent Jimmy Carter lost to Republican challenger Ronald Reagan.

2.ANOTHER GORE IN SENATE RACE

Mississippi voters will decide whether to return Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker to Capitol Hill, or perhaps choose Democrat Albert N. Gore. The Constitution Party’s Thomas Cramer and Reform Party’s Shawn O’Hara also are in the race. Though the names are similar, Mississippi’s Gore is not the former U.S. senator and vice president from Tennessee by the same name. Mississippi’s Gore is a retired minister.

3.FOUR FOR THE HOUSE

Also up for grabs on Tuesday are four seats in Congress. Republican incumbents hold three of them (Alan Nunnelee, Greg Harper and Steven Palazzo). The only U.S. House seat from Mississippi held by a Democrat is the 2nd Congressional District, where incumbent Bennie Thompson faces three challengers.

4.NO ID NEEDED FOR THIS ELECTION

Mississippi voters won’t be required to show identification because the federal government hasn’t decided whether to approve the state’s proposed voter ID law. Because of its history of racial discrimination, Mississippi must have federal approval of any changes to voting laws or processes. The U.S. Justice Department has asked for more information about the proposed law before deciding whether it can be implemented. Still, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant has suggested it would be a good idea for voters to voluntarily show identification.

5.THE CLOCK STARTS TICKING

Polls statewide open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Sunrise on Tuesday is shortly after 6 a.m. and sunset is a few minutes after 5 p.m. So polls will open after sunrise but close well after the sun sets.