JACKSON, Miss (WJTV) – In a state with over one and a half million registered voters, Mississippi once again saw not even half of those people show up to the polls.
Some political analysts point to toxic and stressful political atmospheres to driving people away from getting involved.
In the governor’s race, the biggest one on the ballot of them all only a little more than 862,600 voters participated. Meaning almost one million Mississippians eligible to vote stayed home.
No matter driving down the road, watching TV or going online it’s practically impossible to avoid anything political urging the public to support candidates.
“We’re kind of pressured to go out and vote because we’re college students,” Fletcher Freeman of Millsaps College Republicans said. “And to stay informed and stay involved I think that’s good pressure even though some people take it as a negative.”
“Voting matters,” Millsaps Sophomore Mariah Hall told us. “You know this affects our lives, our children, everything like our whole world as we know it.”
But this amount of attention and heated arguments becoming more common between opposing campaigns has steered many away from the ballots to avoid the pressure.
“We’re voting to put our futures in somebody else’s hands and that’s a hard thing to do,” Hall continued. “Especially when it’s somebody you barely trust, you never know until they’re in office.”
“There’s a lot of voter effort that goes into having to be informed and remembering to vote,” Dr. Nathan Shrader of Millsaps College Government Department explained. “Remembering who those candidates are, learning about the races. Bombarded with national politics and state politics, it’s a lot for voters to process.”
Experts and voters also point to constant attack ads centered around candidates’ messages instead of making plans to lead pushing voter turnout to decline.
“Governor-elect Tate Reeves received over 40,000 votes fewer than Cindy-Hyde Smith just a year ago,” professor Shrader stated. “And on the Democratic side, Jim Hood received over 20,000 fewer votes a year ago.”
“When we constantly hear about only one person instead of what that person is doing for the people,” Hall said. “Or what the people have problems with that’s where voter fatigue comes from in my opinion.”
Secretary of State officials told us voting stats will not be more official until all counties send in their turnout numbers. Young voters, we spoke to also told us never think your vote won’t count.