"We've had 58 absentee votes so far," Dawn Coon, deputy Lee County circuit clerk, said Friday. "That's still way low from the usual."
More than 51,000 voters came out Jan. 11 to fill the seat left vacant on the Mississippi Transportation Commission by the October death of Bill Minor of Holly Springs.
Turnout was fueled by another special election in parts of Lee and Pontotoc counties to succeed Alan Nunnelee in the Mississippi Senate after his election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Nancy Adams Collins of Tupelo won that vote outright without a runoff.
In the Transportation contest, John Caldwell of Nesbit and Mike Tagert of Starkville will face off after leading a seven-man special election field.
The winner will serve until a four-year term begins in January. Each has said he will seek that job, if he wins Tuesday.
Spot checks around the 33-county district mostly mirror Loftin's report about low absentee voting, which ended at noon Saturday.
But a check in Tagert's home county of Oktibbeha showed 132 absentee votes at mid-afternoon Friday, with an elections spokesman saying they're seeing "a good turnout" for the advanced voting there.
Circuit Clerk Dale Thompson in Caldwell's populous DeSoto County reported 174 absentee votes by about the same time.
Tagert said he's almost dizzy from making campaign loops from Highway 82 to I-55, then north to Highway 78 and up and down Highway 45.
"We've put serious miles on our vehicle," he said Thursday, adding that he's optimistic about voter reaction to his campaign message about economic development and transportation.
Voters "want to see agencies working together for the greater good," he said.
Caldwell echoes his opponent's busy schedule last week, saying Friday that he believes his message has been well received, too.
He also predicts that if he wins, "we will win big."
"We all have the same concerns" for good transportation, Caldwell said.
A check in Lafayette County showed 31 absentee votes by midday Friday, "not many at all," a circuit clerk spokesman said.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.