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Despite historic election, Starkville officials skeptical about turnout


Dispatch Staff Report



The general election in Starkville Tuesday is being hailed as one of the most important in the history of the city, but with primary and runoff elections already under voters'' belts, officials wonder how many people will show up at the polls? 


"Of course we''re hoping for a high turnout, but with it being the third election in 30 days, it''s hard to tell how many people will come out (to vote)," City Clerk Markeeta Outlaw said, in reference to the May 5 primary election and May 19 runoff. "We''re hoping for a high turnout because then we''ll know it''s representative of the citizens of the city. But with those three elections in a 30-day time period, I don''t know." 


Of the city''s 13,658 registered voters, 3,337 cast votes in the primary election and 3,219 voted in the runoff. The city typically sees 30-33 percent voter turnout, Outlaw said, though the totals were closer to 25 percent during the primary and runoff. 


In Columbus, where incumbent Democrat Robert Smith faces independent candidate Thom Geiger in the mayoral race, Election Commissioner Leon Speck expects a high volume of voters in wards 2 and 5. 


Democratic candidate pastor Joseph Mickens Sr. and Republican incumbent Susan Mackay will face off in the Ward 2 race. 


In Ward 5, incumbent Republican Jay Jordan faces Democratic candidate Kabir Karriem. 


"The other four wards will be light because all the councilmen have already been elected in those wards," said Speck. "As far as the mayor''s race, I don''t look for much activity in the mayor''s race. There''s no real interest on one side of the ticket." 


For the May primary elections, 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 West Point, the mayoral race is the only one on the ballot for the general election. Incumbent Democrat Scott Ross is challenged by independent Harold Lathon.  


Caledonia and Crawford -- both of which do not hold primaries -- also have city elections Tuesday. 


Polls are open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday. Voters should contact their respective city/town halls for information on where to vote. 





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