Twitter has brought attention to elections worldwide, and today’s Mississippi election is no different.
With tweets from the mundane to the outrageous, people are sharing thoughts and opinions, especially on Amendment 26. That race was generating the most buzz in a search of the word “Mississippi” on Twitter.
Assistant professor of journalism at Ole Miss Cynthia Joyce studies social media and its effects. She says Twitter can be a useful tool for getting crowd-sourced information.
The experts have been predicting a strong voter turnout in Mississippi this Election Day. Lafayette County District 1 supervisor Mike Pickens says the predictions are coming true.
“It’s been a big turnout in my district, there have been no problems today,” said Pickens.
But, some college-age voters are skipping the polls altogether. Kelvona Staffield of Oklahoma, Ms decided not to vote because of mixed emotions on Amendment 26.
For some, church is a place of worship, for others, it’s a stop on the road to the ballot box.
“There is nothing wrong with making it the subject of a sermon,” Richardson said. “We chose to show a video, and I spoke around that for a few minutes.”
According to Richardson, the Bible is the main source of Christian belief, and he says Jeremiah 5: 1 describes how God knows a person before he or she is formed in the womb.
“A person is a person, no matter where they are conceived,” Richardson said. “The Christian belief is that a person begins at fertilization.”
Richardson says many of the controversial aspects of the amendment will likely be addressed if it’s passed and becomes law.
“I don’t know anyone that is not in support of birth control or in vitro fertilization,” Richardson said. “The amendment is not legislation, it’s passed with a language and the legislation comes in to help with each and every issue concerning that amendment.”
Johnny DuPree is about to go into the history books, whether he wins or loses the race for Mississippi governor. He is the first black candidate to win a major-party nomination for governor in the state since Reconstruction.
While this could be a major topic of interest in the election, a large majority of people we talked to said they hadn’t thought about race at all.
“I believe he’s a good man for the job,” George Moore said. ”Let every man stand on his own two feet. If the man is qualified, let him run.”
Mary Milek, a native of Oxford Miss, was taken aback when asked if DuPree’s race was important.
“To me that wasn’t an issue, and I dont think it should be in the 21st century,” Milek said.
Carolyn Lott, a campaigner against Initiative 26, says she supports DuPree for his values.
“I like the fact that he is representing the people. I dont trust the other person,” Lott said.
DuPree’s campaign comes after Barack Obama’s history-making campaign to become the first African-American president. Some Oxford voters saw a correlation between the two, and thought DuPree might have been influenced by Obama’s success.
“It probalby encouraged him to accept the nomination.” Milek said.
Others aren’t so convinced that the presidential election had any effect on Mississippi’s governor’s race.
“I don’t necessarily think that it had to be influenced by Barack Obama,” John Trenton, a local voter said.
With just a little more than 5 hours to go before the polls close, you still have time to cast your ballot. The Mississippi elections website has a useful tool for tracking down your polling place.
Enter your address and your voting location pops up in seconds.
Even for analysts who study politics for a living, this Mississippi election is more interesting than most. Ole Miss assistant professor in political science Dr. Jonathan Winburn is particularly focused on Proposition 26.
Winburn says that the lack of precedent and the ambiguity of the proposition itself makes predicting the amendment’s possible impact difficult.
“I think it’s not very well put together because it is so vague. From the proponents arguing for it as an attempt to limit abortion, you see what they’re trying to do, but I think it’s the potential for unintended consequences that go well beyond the abortion debate that is the part that makes it not very well written,” said Winburn.
Students are often criticized for not participating in voting elections, but at the University of Mississippi student voters are not hard to find.
Stacy Cisco took time out of her day to vote on Amendment 26.
Spencer Cash also cited the amendment as his reason for voting.
Among the half dozen students we talked to, the hottest topics were Amendment 26 and the race for governor between Republican candidate Phil Bryant and Democrat candidate Johnny DuPree.
But not everyone thought far enough ahead to vote today. Some in-state students at Ole Miss either neglected to order the absentee ballot form or couldn’t find time to drive home today.
“I wish I could go home today, Phil Bryant’s my neighbor and I really wanted to vote for him,” said Logan Dillon, a senior from Brandon, Miss.