The Latest: Mississippi reports brisk absentee voting

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on a U.S. Senate runoff election in Mississippi (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

More than 43,000 absentee ballots have been requested ahead of a Mississippi runoff election, which includes a hard-fought U.S. Senate race.

The secretary of state’s office says Saturday that the number could increase as circuit clerks continue compiling information. The total includes absentee ballots that were requested by mail and absentee ballots that were cast at circuit clerks’ offices. Saturday was the deadline for in-person absentee voting, and people waited in line at some courthouses, including Hinds County.

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People 65 or older are allowed to vote absentee, as are people who will be away from their home county on Election Day.

About 69,000 absentee ballots were requested before Mississippi’s Nov. 6 election. There’s typically a large decrease in ballots cast between the first election and a runoff.

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2:25 p.m.

Several dozen voters in Mississippi’s largest county have been waiting in a line stretching outside the courthouse to cast absentee ballots in a U.S. Senate runoff.

The contest is between white Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, who is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, and Democratic challenger Mike Espy, a former U.S. agriculture commissioner who is seeking to become the first African-American senator from Mississippi since Reconstruction.

The runoff is Tuesday. Saturday was the deadline for people to cast absentee ballots at circuit clerks’ offices.

People 65 or older are allowed to vote absentee, as are people who will be away from their home county on Election Day.

A 92-year-old voter from Jackson, Illinois Cox Littleton, says she voted for Espy because she considers him “a highly intelligent man.”

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