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Mississippians turned out in force Tuesday at polling locations across the state, far surpassing numbers seen in 2016 and possibly setting a new state record.
According to preliminary results from the Associated Press, 1,023,185 ballots have been cast in Mississippi, though only 77% of the estimated vote total was reported as of Wednesday afternoon. If the projection holds true, more than 1.3 million ballots will have been cast in Mississippi on Election Day, surpassing numbers since 2003, the earliest vote total available on the Secretary of State's website.
In a news release issued Tuesday, Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson said there were 1,985,928 registered voters in Mississippi for the 2020 election, an increase of more than 110,000 voters over the total in 2016. During that race, 1.2 million votes were cast, a turnout of a little more than 64%.
Kendra James, director of communications for the secretary's office, said in an email that official final voting results will not be released until 10 days after the election.
The level of turnout wasn't entirely expected. On Monday, Watson said he anticipated voters would see short and quick lines. However, that wasn't the case for some, as long waits in long lines were the biggest issue of the day.
Voters anticipating to be in and out of their locations within a few minutes were greeted with lines of hundreds of people. In Hinds County, one polling place reportedly saw a wait time of more than three hours.
Watson said he was aware of the lines voters were experiencing, but said poll managers were "doing a great job managing an incredibly high turnout" in the midst of a pandemic.
The state also saw high interest in absentee voting this year. Watson said more than 248.000 ballots had been requested by Sunday for this year's election and a large portion of them had already been returned.
Any outstanding ballots had to be post marked by yesterday and must be received by Nov. 10 in order to be counted.
Contact Keisha Rowe at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter or at (601) 760-2483.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Elections 2020: Mississippi sees higher voter turnout than 2016