May 31, 2014 10:50:17 PM
The Lowndes County Circuit Clerk's office has trained 180 poll workers to staff the county's 22 voting precincts for Tuesday's primary election.
Circuit Clerk Haley Salazar said six sessions have been held to provide them the information they need and each poll worker will have a booklet to refer to throughout the day.
They'll be in charge of making sure voting goes as smoothly as it can Tuesday when they vote on who will represent the Democratic and Republican parties in November's general election for a U.S. Senate and House seat.
The Democratic primary will have Travis Childers, William Bond Compton Jr., Bill Marcy and Johnathan Rawl on the ballot for U.S. Senate.
The Republican primary will have Thomas Carey, Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel in the U.S. Senate race.
Democrat voters in Lowndes and Clay counties will decide whether Ron Dickey or Rex Weathers will be the Democratic challenger of Republican incumbent Alan Nunnelee for the U.S. House of Representatives District 1 seat this November. Nunnelee does not have a primary opponent.
District 3 House incumbent Gregg Harper faces Hardy Caraway in the Republican primary in Oktibbeha and Noxubee counties. Democrats Jim Liljeberg, Doug Magee and Dennis Quinn are running in the Democratic primary for that seat.
The most publicized of the races has been between Cochran, who is running for a seventh term in the U.S. Senate, and McDaniel, a Tea Party favorite and two-term state senator looking to unseat Cochran. Campaign finance reports from the Center for Responsive Politics (Opensecrets.org) state Cochran has more than $3.6 million in contributions this election cycle while McDaniel has raised $1.27 million as of May 14. Childers, considered by many to win the Democratic primary, raised $41,600.
Salazar said her office has seen a voter turnout of as low as 30 percent for primary elections but is hopeful turnout will be stronger Tuesday.
"Turnouts are generally very low for these elections," Salazar said. "However, we've had a little spike in absentee ballots. We've had people coming in steadily, so that may be an indication that we're going to have a better turnout than we first thought. With the back and forth, I think that's spurred a lot of interest, so we may have a pretty decent turnout."
Some voters casting ballots in the June 3 primary will have to do so in different places than they've had to in the past due to the temporary relocation of two precincts.
Those who have gone to the District 2 volunteer fire department on Jess Lyons Road will be instead vote at the Antioch Baptist Church fellowship hall next door. Construction on a new fire building for the station is under way and the location will not be ready to host an election next month.
Construction at West Lowndes High School will necessitate those who normally vote there to go to the school district's central office boardroom on 1053 Highway 45 S.
Salazar said the circuit clerk's office will ensure that signage indicating the relocation is placed at both locations.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
1. Coach Marsh will be remembered COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY