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Oxford polling precincts prepare for long lines

Number of voters in Lafayette County expected to be larger than usual

By Clancy Smith and Mary Adele Smith

The number of voters in the Lafayette County area is expected to be larger than usual, according to Election Commissioner Mary K. Hemphill.

“This election is going to be so different from most elections that we have; the presidential election always is because more people come out than they would for a regular county or municipal election,” she said.

Though the polls open at 7 a.m., crowds are expected to be busiest around 10 a.m. and people are likely to continue to flock to the polls through their lunch breaks.  Traffic will then likely pick up once more after work is over. But, Hemphill says, the rush may not be quite as big as they anticipate.

“We’ve had so many absentees that the turnout may not be as good at the polls as we think it’s going to be,” Hemphill said.

Ole Miss freshman Leeann Green is one of those absentee voters, though she’s from Atlanta and sent her ballot there.  As an 18-year-old, this is Green’s first presidential election, and she took the voting process seriously.

"When I have time in the mornings, before class I will always turn on CNN or Fox News on my TV in my dorm,” Green said. “I try to stay up-to-date on current events and especially the presidential election.  I think it is very important to stay informed.”

Green admitted that while voting for this election was important to her, it was probably more important to her mom, who made sure that Green got her absentee ballot and turned it in on time.

For those casting ballots tomorrow, the Oxford Conference Center is one of the primary voting locations, but Lafayette County’s website does provide a map of all area polling places.  One way to speed up the process for everyone involved is to get familiar with the ballot ahead of time.

While officials recognize that there will be a larger turnout for the presidential election, they are not planning on changing the set up at the polls.  The only thing different will be the number of machines used to register the ballots, in order to allow voters to get in and out more quickly.

“We take that into consideration and we go ahead and put up more machines at this election than we would put up at a local election,” Hemphill said.

Polls will close at 7 p.m. Tuesday.