Saturday is voter registration deadline in Mississippi

By Jeff Amy/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Mississippians have until Saturday to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election.

Circuit clerks of court offices will be open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday for last-minute registrations. Those seeking to register by mail must have their applications postmarked by Saturday.

Mail-in applications are available at the secretary of state’s website, www.sos.ms.gov , as well as in circuit clerks’ offices.

Besides the presidential election, the state’s four congressional seats, one U.S. Senate seat and five state judgeships will be on the ballot. Some voters will also decide local races.

Military and overseas voters have until Oct. 27 to register, according to Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann’s office. That’s 10 days before the election.

Voter registration typically surges in a presidential year, circuit clerks say, but it’s not clear whether registration and turnout will be as high as it was in 2008, when nearly 1.3 million Mississippians cast ballots. That was the largest number of people to ever vote in an election in the state, and 12 percent more than the 1.15 million who voted in 2004.

Carroll County Circuit Clerk Durward Stanton said that voter registrations have tipped up as they normally do in a presidential year. But he said he doesn’t think this year will see as big a jump as in 2008.

“I don’t think they are higher than usual,” Stanton said Monday.

Jefferson County Circuit Clerk Arnell Harried said he expects registrations to increase about 15 percent over a non-presidential year. Harried said he thinks that voters in his county, where the population is 86 percent black, remain motivated by Barack Obama’s historic presidency.

“You have a little bit more interest in this process than you had in the past,” Harried said.

Some groups, including county political parties and the NAACP, have been conducting voter registration drives. State Republican Party spokesman Brett Kittredge said the state party will be registering voters at the Mississippi State Fair in Jackson from its Wednesday opening through Saturday.

“We’re making sure Republicans turn out, and not just for Romney, but all our candidates,” Kittredge said.

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