Nov. 6 ballot includes low-profile office seekers

October 26, 2012 11:23:52 AM

Sarah Fowler - [email protected]


Editors note: The fourth in a series of stories previewing the Nov. 6 election. Today: Election commission, school board. 




While most voters already know who they are going to vote for in the upcoming presidential election, there may still be some undecided voters on the local front.  


In Lowndes County, there are seven local elections which don't get nearly the amount of attention as the state or national elections.  


Nine people have thrown their hat in the ring for election commissioner and four people are vying for seats on the Lowndes County School Board.  


In District 1, Republicans Larry Chappell and Clyde McElrath are both hoping to fill the seat vacated by retiring Lina Mae Duncan.  


District 1 voting precincts are located in Caledonia, Columbus High School, Immanuel, Sale and Steens. 


In District 2, Leon Speck Jr., is a former election commissioner in the city and is hoping to unseat incumbent Jean Bigelow. Both are running as Republicans.  


District 2 voting precincts are located at the volunteer fire department at 128 Jess Lyons Road, Brandon school, and First Assembly. First Assembly precinct replaced the former Lee Middle location.  


Republican women Peggy Barksdale and Sandra Elliott are competing for election commissioner in District 3.  


Barksdale, 72, is a Columbus native and said she initially decided to run when she saw no one else had put their name on the ballot.  


"No one had applied at the time and I thought, 'I could do that,'" she said. 


The great-grandmother said that while she is not familiar with the particulars of the job, she is confident she would be a quick learner.  


"I think it would be a challenge," she said. "I don't know exactly what the job is but I have a good just looks like something I would like to do. I like to stay busy." 


District 3 voting precincts are located in New Hope and Rural Hill.  


Independent candidate Ina Walters in facing Democrat incumbent Sherry Guyton in District 4.  


District 4 voting precincts are located at Coleman, Crawford, the National Guard, Plum Grove and Townsend Park. The Townsend Park precinct was previously located at Mitchell.  


Democrat and incumbent candidate Frances Stewart is running unopposed in District 5. Stewart is the wife of Ward 4 City Councilman Fred Stewart.  


In the nonpartisan Lowndes County School Board races, John Hall is running against incumbent Robert "Bobby" Barksdale in District 3.  


In District 4, Wesley Barrett is running against incumbent Michael Gibson.  


While the responsibilities of a school board member are familiar to most voters, the job of election commissioner may not be.  


Circuit Clerk Haley Salazar said election commissioners are responsible for duties related to the voting process that most voters take for granted.  


"They oversee general and special elections,'' Salazar said. "They appoint the poll workers and they're also in charge of purging the voter rolls." 


Election commissioners are elected to a four-year term and work on an as-needed basis. They work at the courthouse examining voter roles every first Tuesday of the month but work more frequently in election season.  


They earn $84 a day.  




For Election Commissioner 1 


District One 


Larry Chappell Republican 


Clyde McElrath Republican 




For Election Commissioner 2 


District Two 


(I) Jean N. Bigelow Republican  


Leon M. Speck Republican 




For Election Commissioner 3 


District Three 


Peggy Barksdale Republican 


Sandra Pennington Elliott Republican 




For Election Commissioner 4 


District Four 


(I) Sherry Ann Guyton Democrat 


Ina W. Walters Independent  




For Election Commissioner 5 


District Five 


(I) Frances Olivia Stewart Democrat 




For School Board 3 


County School Board District 3 


(I) Robert E. "Bobby" Barksdale Non Partisan 


John A. Hall Non Partisan  




For School Board 4 


County School Board District 4 


Wesley Barrett Non Partisan 


(I) Michael Gibson Non Partisan  


Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.