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Turnout high in West Point, low in Columbus; Starkville in middle

 

Neal Wagner

 

In the Golden Triangle, the number of people who participated in their city''s respective primary elections varied greatly in the three cities. 

 


About half of West Point''s registered voters took part in the election, but in Columbus only about 13 percent chose to cast their ballots. Starkville''s turnout fell in between with about 24 percent of the registered voters voting. 

 


In Starkville, where the mayoral race was a hotly contested battle May 19 primary runoff, 3,337 of the 13,658 registered to vote went to the polls Tuesday, which was a lower turnout than the 2005 primary, when 3,975 people cast ballots. 

 


"Thirty percent is usually high for us," said Markeeta Outlaw, Starkville city clerk. 

 


Only 2,434 of the 18,497 registered voters showed up to the polls in the Friendly City. 

 


"It was definitely a low turnout for this election," said Columbus Election Commissioner Leon Speck. "I''m not sure what caused it, but I guess people just weren''t interested in this race." 

 


Speck said he doesn''t expect any drastic increase in the turnout for next month''s general election. 

 


"It''s a good bit lower than I remember last time," he said. "I imagine the turnout will be about as low during the general election next month. It may be a little bit bigger, but I think it will probably stay about the same." 

 


Columbus'' general election is scheduled for June 2. 

 


In West Point, 3,633 of the 7,306 -- 49.7 percent -- of the city''s registered voters stormed the halls of the West Point Civic to vote for their town''s mayor and Board of Selectmen seats. 

 


"It was a steady flow pretty much all day," said West Point Election Manager Robin Perry. "We had about 32 voting machines in the room and they were full-up just about all day." 

 


Tuesday''s primary was the first election in which the city used electronic voting machines, which they borrowed from Clay County. 

 


"The machines worked perfectly; it was very smooth," said Perry. 

 


Since 2005, all precincts of all West Point city elections vote at the Civic, where the votes also are counted. 

 


"It gets everybody in one place and helps people get questions answered, because everybody is right here," he said. "It also helps because people don''t have to transport ballots. You don''t have to worry about somebody taking a detour by stopping at McDonald''s and holding the whole thing up." 

 


Of the 3,633 votes cast Tuesday in West Point, about 580 were absentee ballots. Fifty affidavit ballots had not yet been counted this morning, but will be included in the official tally expected to be released this afternoon. 

 


West Point has three seats in a runoff, scheduled for May 19. 

 


The primary ticket being comprised completely of Democrats seems to have contributed to the high turnout in West Point, since the primary and its runoff will decide all of the selectmen seats; the mayor''s race is the only race contested in the general election.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments

Article Comment Joe commented at 5/10/2009 3:31:00 PM:

Well! mybe if Columbus had better people running for office there would be a better turnout in voters.

 

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